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THERE IS no epoch in modern history so interesting 
as that of the French Revolution: it has a peren- 
nial charm iwhich attracts everybody. The Ameri- 
can public is hardly aware of the vast literature upon 
this fascinating period which has grown up in France 
during the last few years. Hardly a month has passed 
without the appearance of some book, article, or pam- 
phlet, throwing new light on the subject. Histories, 
biographies, memoirs, have been published j and taken 
together they constitute a formidable Revolutionary 

Most English' readers derive their knowledge of the 
Revolution from the great work of Carlyle, which is 
really a marvellous " prose epic," rather than a history, 
and is far from accurate, in view of the many facts 
which have been brought to light since its publication. 
Of more recent date is the scholarly and judicial history 
of Professor H. Morse Stephens, but it ends with the 
year 1793, and unfortunately has never been completed. 

Nearly all the French historians, especially the 
earlier ones, are simply brilliant special-pleaders — 
resolute advocates of the side they have chosen. To 
this category belong the works of Mignet, Thiers, Louis 
Blanc, Quinet and Michelet. The story of Mignet, 
first published in 1824, still retains its position as the 
most useful manual of the history of the Revolution. 
The fault of Mignet was in being too terse, while Thiers 
erred in the opposite direction; and his book is marked 
by the same blemishes which detract from his far greater 
history of the Consulate and the Empire. He is often 
inaccurate, and generally unfair: his narrative is in- 
fluenced too much by his political opinions. The same 
remark applies to the books of Blanc and Quinet. The 



history of Michelet is a work of genius, but he also fails 
to be judicial when he tries to estimate the virtues and 
vices of his own ancestors. 

In a class by itself is the great work of Monsieur 
Taine, " Les origines de la France contemporaine." For 
style, vigor and power, these volumes are unequalled, 
but like Michelet his work is colored by his prejudices, 
and he cannot do justice to the actors in that great drama 
which is called the French Revolution. 

Of more recent date are the books of Sorel, Chuquet, 
Aulard, Madelin and Lavisse. Sorel has written the 
diplomatic, Chuquet the military, and Aulard the political 
history of the period. The story of Madelin is bril- 
liant and absorbing, and the two volumes just published 
by Lavisse are clear and comprehensive. 

In writing on the subject of the French Revolution, it 
is not easy to fix either the starting-point or the end. 
The story can hardly begin with the assembling of the 
States-General in the spring of 1789. To be intelli- 
gible, it must go back at least to the close of the reign 
of Louis the Fourteenth. At the other end, it is diffi- 
cult to stop short of the advent of Bonaparte in the 
autumn of 1799. It is also difficult at times to follow 
the strict chronological order of events. Even at the 
risk of some repetition, it is necessary that facts of the 
same kind should be grouped together. To attempt, for 
example, to explain simultaneously the conffict of parties 
at Paris, and the battles on the frontier, would only 
produce confusion in the mind of the reader. In order 
to make the narrative clear, it has been thought best, 
therefore, to present the facts, turn by turn, in several 
parallel series, rather than in their chronological sequence. 

In deference to what seems to be the present taste of 
the reading public, notes and references have been ex- 
cluded, as interfering with the course of the narrative. 
A brieJF Bibliography is given at the end of the volume. 

Walter Geer 
New York, July, 1922 







Death of Louis the Fourteenth — The New King — 
France under the Old Regime — Privileges of 
the Nobility and the Clergy — Miserable Lot of 
the Peasantry — The Remote Causes of the Revo- 
lution — Death of Louis the Fifteenth — Changes 
During His Reign — The Capital — The Rural 
Districts — Manufacturing Industries — Medical 
Progress — The Lettres de Cachet — Social Life — 
Court Etiquette — The Parisian Salons — The Po- 
litical Writers — Their Influence 3 




Death of Louis the Fifteenth — Childhood of Marie- 
Antoinette — Her Marriage — The Dauphin — 
His Personality — Appearance and Character of 
Marie-Antoinette — Her Married Life — The Paris 
Fetes — Debut of the Reign — Popularity of 
the Queen — The Royal Family — The "Era 
of Follies" — The Opera Balls — Extravagance of 
the Queen — Passion for Play — Growing Unpop- 
ularity — Visit of the Emperor Joseph — His Good 
Advice — Efforts to Reconcile the Royal Couple — 



His Final Instructions — Birth of Madame Royale 

— End of the First Phase 17 




Madame Dillon — Princesse de Lamballe — Comtesse 
de Polignac — Princesse de Guemene — Madame de 
Polignac, Gouvernante — The Petit-Trianon — The 
Queen's Illness — Her Strange Attendants — The 
Affair of the Necklace — The Queen's Admirers 

— Comte de Fersen — His First Meeting with 
the Queen — His Residence in London — Return to 
Paris — Love for the Queen — Absence in America 

— Second Return to France — Liaison with Marie- 
Antoinette — Their Correspondence 32 




The Advent of Louis the Sixteenth — Maurepas, First 
Minister — Vergennes, Foreign Affairs — Turgot, 
Finance — His Career — His Program — The Coro- 
nation — The " Man with the Iron Mask" — The 
Queen's MeddHng — Public Indignation — Fall of 
Turgot — Saint-Germain, War Minister — Necker, 
Controller — The American War — French Tri- 
umphs — Necker Resigns — Attitude of the Queen 
— Death of Maurepas — Beaumarchais* Play — 
Calonne, Controller — His Prodigality — Assembly 
of the Notables — Brienne, Controller — Conflict 
with the Paris Parlement — Discredit of the Queen 

— Necker Recalled. 48 

C viii ] 





The Royal Program — Apparent Power of the Sovereign ^^^^ 

— The Maison du Roi — Its Great Expense — 
Spirit of Reform in the Nation — The Reactionary 
Faction — The King Receives the Deputies — The 
Church Ceremony — The Session Opens — Separa- 
tion of the Orders — The Advent of Mirabeau — At- 
tempts to Unite the Orders — Sieyes and Bailly — 
The Deadlock Continues — The National Assembly 

— The Oath of the Tennis-Court — The Seance 
Roy ale — The Orders Finally United — The Breton 
Club — Plot to Suppress the Assembly — Demoral- 
ization of the Army — Concentration of Troops at 
Paris — The King Reassures the Assembly — Dis- 
missal of Necker — The King's Duplicity 63 


The Palais-Royal ^- The Gardes Fran^aises — Paris 
Learns of Necker's Dismissal — Rage of the People 

— Encounter with the Troops — The City Aroused 

— The Bandits Appear — The News at Versailles 

— National Guard Formed at Paris — The Four- 
teenth of July — The Mob at the Invalides — At the 
Bastille — History of the Fortress — The Mob De- 
mands Arms — It Enters the Outer Court — The 
Attack Begins — The Governor Surrenders — Mas- 
sacre of Launay and Flesselles — Versailles Hears 
the News — Legend of the Bastille — Louis Visits 
the Assembly — The First Emigration — The 
King at Paris — Lally-Tollendal — Marquis de 

La Fayette — His Career 79 







War on the Chateaux — Disorders at Paris — Action of 
the Assembly — The Great Renunciation — Debate 
on the Constitution — The Veto — The Court Plans 
a Counter-Revolution — Banquet of the Body- 
Guard — Excitement at Paris — The Mob Marches 
on Versailles — Preparations of the Court — The 
Assembly — Indecision of the King — Plans for 
Flight — Arrival of La Fayette — Attack on the 
Palace — Madame Campan's Story — The King 
Goes to Paris — Close of the Second Period of 
the Revolution — Retirement of Mounier 95 




The Chateau of the Tuileries — Difficulty of Finding 
Rooms for the Royal Family — Return of Mme. de 
Lamballe — Life of the King and Queen — The As- 
sembly Moves to Paris — The Manege — ^The Clubs 
— Appearance of Parties — The Right — Espremenil 
and Mirabeau-Tonneau — The Bishops — The Abbe 
Maury — The Left — The Triumvirate : Duport, 
Barnave and Lameth — The Centre — The Bishop 
of Autun — The Military Committee — Mirabeau 
and the Court — His Plans for a Ministry Blocked 
by the Assembly 109 




The Constitution Enacted — The New Departments — 
The Favras Affair — The King Visits the Assembly 



— The Court at Saint-Cloud — Cazotte's Prophecy 

— Apathy of the Noblesse — The Church Property 

— The Assignats — Fete of the Federation — Split 
in the Revolutionary Party — Mirabeau and La 
Fayette — Mercy and La Marck — Mirabeau Re- 
tained by the Court — Change in His Mode of 
Life — His Interview with the Queen — His Plan 
of Action — Rejected by the Court — Schemes for 
Foreign Intervention — Recall of Orleans — Death 

of Mirabeau — His Character and Career 125 




The Queen Prepares to Escape — The Plan Doomed to 
Failure — Montmedy the Objective — The Royal 
Party — The Travelling Carriage — Bouille's Task 

— Apathy of the Authorities — Provence Leaves 
Paris — La Fayette's Call — Departure of the Royal 
Family — Delays en Route — Pont-de-Somme-Vesle 

— Chalons — Sainte -Menehould — Clermont — 
Drouet's Ride — Varennes — Arrival of Drouet — 
The King Arrested • — Choiseul Arrives — The King 
Leaves for Paris — Bouille Comes Too Late — The 
Return Trip — Cold Reception at Paris 140 




The King Suspended — The Fiction of Abduction — 
The Queen Writes Fersen — Return of Mme. Cam- 
pan — The Queen's Opinion of Barnave — Their 
Talks During the Return from Varennes — Their 
Correspondence at Paris — His Admiration for 
Marie-Antoinette — His Personality — The Queen's 



First Letter — Barnave Accepts the Role — The 
Queen's Duplicity — Fersen's Jealousy — Matters 
Discussed with Barnave — Tl^e At titude of Austria 
— fimigres —JTheir ..ActJ:Eitie$ —The Pfflnifz Dec^ 
laration — Evil Results of the Emi gration — Accep- 
tance of the Constitution — Popular Joy — End 
of the Constituent Assembly — Bamave's Farewell 
to the Queen — His Arrest and Execution 153 




End of the Constituent Assembly — Its Great Work — 
The Legislative Assembly — Its Members — The 
Girondins — The Enrages — The New Salons — 
Mesdames de Genlis and de Stael — The Cafes and 
Theatres — Fersen's Last Visit — His Fate — Death 
of Gustavus the Third — The "Iron Closet *' — Ques- 
tion of the Emigres — The Army of Conde — The 
Strasbourg Plot — The Priests — The November 
Decrees — Resignation of La Fayette — Petion 
Elected Mayor — The Desire for War — Narbonne, 
Minister — His Fall — The New Ministry — 
Dumouriez and Roland — The Fair Manon 167 




War Declared on Austria — Popular Approval — The 
Federates — Roland Dismissed — Dumouriez Re- 
signs — The Sections Arm — Santerre -— The 
Twentieth June — The Mob at the Tuileries — 
Bonaparte's Remark — The People Enter the 
Palace — Attitude of the King and Queen — Petion 
Arrives — Public Indignation — La Fayette at Paris 



— The Court Refuses His Aid — The Month of July 

— The "Kiss of Lamourette" — The "Marseillaise" 

— The Queen's Last Scheme — Preparations for 
the Revolt — Arrangements to Defend the Tuileries 

— Mandat Killed— The Night at the Chateau — 
The King Leaves for the Manege — The Defence 
of the Palace — The_Svviss__Oxdered to ^^^ j^^^ — 
Their Massacre — ■ The Lion^oL Lwcern^ — Suspen- 
sion of the King — The Temple — The Royal 
Family Confined There 185 




The Executive Council — The Ministers of the 10 
August — Gaspard Monge — Danton — The New 
Convention — Three Rival Powers — The Paris 
Commune — Public Feeling — The Army — Flight 
of _ La Fayette — The Criminal Tribunal — The 
September Massacres — Danton Intervenes — 
The Responsibility — Elections to the Convention 

— The Members — Their Origin — The Parties 

— Buzot — The Jacobin Leaders — Robespierre, 
Marat and Danton — The Convention Meets — 
Royalty Abolished — The Republic Proclaimed .... 206 




War Declared on Austria — State of the Armv — Fir st 
Defeats — Isolation of France — Cornn atin^ of tl^e 
Emperor — Plans of the Allies ^ ^ Brmi o wick's Pfoo 

lamation r-r: Tlie. Fxench -ArirLy — Thp Old Rnya) 

[ xiii ] 



Forces — The Maison du Roi — The Proprietary 
Regiments — The Troops of the Line — The Future 
Generals — Resultj,j[>^^feb^ ^migrati on — Organiza- 
tion of the RepuEhcan Army^— "The^Foreign Armies 
— The Invasion — Capture of Verdun — The Ar- 
gonne — Defence of the Defiles — The March to 
Grandpre — Retreat to Sainte-Menehould — Battle 
of Valmy — Retreat of the Invaders — The French 
Offensive — Battle of Jemmapes — Invasion of 
Germany — Annexation of Savoie — Summary of 
the Year's Operations 2] 




The King in the Temple — His Quarters There • — Dis- 
missal of His Suite — His Mode of Life — Fate of 
Madame de Lamballe — Louis Separated from His 
Family — Grief of the Queen — The King's Trial 

— Public Apathy — The Three Questions — Suspen- 
sion of the Sentence Rejected — Eve of the Execu- 
tion — Agony of the Queen — The Execution of the 
King — Historic Quarters of Paris — The Guillotine 

— The Place of Execution — Character of Louis the 
Sixteenth 237 


Rjesulta ^ th» Oeath -jaLthfe. King.z^.Rupture hetffigen 
France and England — War with Spain — JfPftch 
Reverses — The Revolutionary Tribunal — Com- 
mittee of General Defence — Treason of Dumouriez 




— Committee of Public Safety — Its Members — 
Influence of the Foreign War — Arrest of Marat — 
His Trial and Acquittal — The Convention at the 
Tuileries — Insurrection of the Commune — Murder 
of Marat — The AIHes Cross the Northern FrontifiX.. 

— The Siege of Mayence — Rebellion in the Vendee 

— Insurrections at Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and 
Caen — The Constitution of 1793 — Fate of the 
Fugitive Deputies — Character of the Girondins 252 




New Plots to Rescue the Queen — Separated from the 
Dauphin — Transferred to the Conciergerie — Her 
Life There — Her Trial and Execution — The Day 
of Her Death — Her Character — Trial and Execu- 
tion of the Girondins — The Death of figalite — 
Execution of Madame Roland and Suicide of Her 
Husband — Executions of Bailly, Duport, Barnave 
and Many Others 273 




Character of Robespierre — The New Revolutionary 
Calendar — Rivalry of Robespierre and Danton — 
Trial and Execution of Danton — Robespierre in Su- 
preme Power — He Attacks Fouche — Barras, 
Tallien, and Fouche Plan the Overthrow of the 
Dictator — Tallien and Theresia — The Last Days 
of the Terror — Robespierre's Final Speech in the 
Convention — His Arrest with Four of His Followers 
— The Final Scene at the H6tel-de-Ville — Barras 

C XV ] 



Commands the Troops of the Convention — Robes- 
pierre and His Followers Executed 288 




The Siege of Toulon — Distinguished Services of Bona- \ 
parte — The Republican Armies — The Great Com- \ 
mittee of Public Safety — The Military Com- 1 
mittee — Camot and Prieur — Representatives on I 
Mission — The Northern Army — Jourdan — / 
Armies of the Moselle and the Rhine — Pichegru — 1 
Hoche — Saint-Just and Le Bas — Army of the \ 
Alps — Loss of Corsica — The Republican Generals / 

— Campaign of 1794 — Operations of the Northern / 
Army — Battle of Fleurus — Belgium Reconquered / 

— Holland Over-run — Peace with Tuscany, I 
Prussia, Holland and Spain — French Reverses on / 
the Rhine — Armistice with Austria /302 




The Reaction after Thermidor — Joy of the Prisoners — 
Tallien and Theresia — The Jacobin Club Closed — 
End of the Revolutionary Tribunal — The Stage Set 
for Bonaparte — Constitution of the Year Three — 
The Decree of Two -Thirds — Public Discontent — 
Death of the Dauphin — "The Riddle of the Tem- 
ple" — Vote on the Constitution — Revolt of the 
Sections — Preparations for Attack — Measures of 
Defence — The Thirteenth Vendemiaire — Bonaparte 
Appears on the Scene — End of the Convention — 

Its Great Work 312 

C xvi ] 






Inauguration of the New Government — The Corps 
Legislatif — The Five Directors — Their Installation 
at the Luxembourg — The Ministers — The Parties 

— Program of the Government — The Clerical and 
Royalist Menace — Exchange of Madame Royale 

— Pichegru at Paris — End of the Civil War — 
Phelippeaux and Sidney Smith — Benjamin Con- 
stant — tj oreign Polic y — O perations in Germany 

— The Spanish Alliance — NegQjua.tion&«»with— B»g- 
land — The Irish Expedition — Barthelemy, Di- 
rector — Hoche and Talleyrand, Ministers — The 
1 8 Fructidor — The New Directors — Augereau and 
Bonaparte 3 23 



Bonaparte in Command of the Army of Italy — The \ 
Theatre of War — Condition of the French Army — 
Bonaparte's First Proclamation — State of the 
Peninsula — Bonaparte's Plan of Campaign — 
Battles of Montenotte and Mondovi — Armistice 
with Piedmont — The Austrians Retire jyithjn^ 
Quadrilateral — Battle of Lodi and Entrance into 
Milan — Siege of Mantua — Bonaparte's Second 
Proclamation — Battle of Castiglione — Battle of 
Bassano — Battle of Arcole — Renewal of Hostilities 

— Battle of Rivoli — Battle of La Favorita and 
Fall of Mantua — Treaty of Tolentino — The Last 
Italian Campaign — The Archduke Charles — Retreat 
of the Austrians — Preliminaries of Leoben — Peace 
of Campo-Formio — Bonaparte Returns to Paris — 
Results of the Italian Campaign 335 

[ xvii ] 






Foreign Policy of the Directory — Intervention in Swit- 
zerland — Mulhouse and Geneva United to France 

— Rome Occupied by French Troops — The Con- 
gress of Rastadt — ^Attitude of Prussia — Bernadotte 
at Vienna — Sieyes at Berlin — Rupture with the 
United States — Plans for the Invasion of England 

— Bonaparte Favors a Descent on Egypt — The 
Expedition Decided Upon — Malta and Alexandria 
Captured — Battle of the Pyramids — The^ French 
Fleet Destroyed — The Syrian Expedition — Bona- 
parte Returns to France — Organization of the 
Second Coalition — Declaration of War — Occupa- 
tion of Tuscany '■ — Conquest of Naples — Operations 
in Germany and Switzerland — First Reverses in 
Italy — Joubert Defeated and Killed at Novi — 
Battle of Zurich — Rupture of the Coalition 351 




The News of Bonaparte's Return — Political Changes 
During His Absence — • Coups d'fitat of Florial and 
Prairial — The New Directors — Changes in the 
Ministry ■— Bonaparte Arrives at Paris — His Rec- 
onciliation with Josephine — Attitude of the Di- 
rectory — Bonaparte's Plans — Position of Barras 
— Bonaparte Joins Hands with Sieyes — Details of 
the Plot — Bonaparte's Adroit Policy — Support of 
the Army — The Doubtful Generals — The Minis- 
ters—Banquet of the Councils — Jourdan Dines 
with Bonaparte — The Final Orders — Josephine 

Invites Gohier to Dejeuner 366 

C xviii ] 






Meeting of the Inspectors — Session of the Anciens — 
The Decree Voted — The Generals at Bonaparte's 
House — He Leaves for the Tuileries — The Morn- 
ing at the Luxembourg — Bonaparte at the Tuileries 

— His Famous Apostrophe — Session of the Cinq- 
Cents — Josephine and Mme. Gohier — Resignation 
of Barras — The Ministers at the Tuileries — Bona- 
parte Appoints His Staff — The Final Conference 

— Opposition of the Jacobins — Attitude of Berna- 
dotte — The Second Day — Bonaparte Leaves for 
Saint-Cloud — Description of the Chateau — The 
Sessions Begin — Bonaparte Addresses the Anciens 

— He Goes to the Cinq -Cents — He Mounts His 
Horse — Lucien Escorted from the Hall — He 
Harangues the Troops — The Cinq - Cents Expelled 

— The Night Sessions — The Consulate Established 

— The Return to Paris — Bonaparte Moves to 

the Luxembourg 380 







INDEX 407 




Vicomte de Mirabeau Frontispiece 

Queen Marie-Antoinette 28 

King Louis XVI 44 

Chateau of Versailles 76 

Le Marquis de Lally-Tollendal 92 

Gilbert-Mottier de La Fayette 140 

Maximilien de Robespierre 156 

Madame Roland 172 

Chateau of the Tuileries 188 

Georges-Jacques Danton 252 

Jean-Paul Marat 268 

Jean-Lambert Tallien 300 

The Dauphin (Louis XVII) 316 

General Bonaparte 348 

Prince de Talleyrand-Perigord 364 


The Flight to Varennes 146 

Valley of the Po ^^7 


The Bastille in 1789 85 

Versailles in 1789 103 

The Tuileries in 1792 189 

The Temple in 1792 202 





17 15-1774 


Death of Louis the Fourteenth — The New King — France under the 
Old Regime — Privileges of the Nobility and the Clergy — 
Miserable Lot of the Peasantry — The Remote Causes of the 
Revolution — Death of Louis the Fifteenth — Changes during 
His Reign — The Capital — The Rural Districts — Manufactur- 
ing Industries — Medical Progress — The Lettres ifi Cachet — 
Social Life — Court Etiquette — The Parisian Salons — The 
Political Writers — Their Influence 

ON the first day of September 171 5 Louis the 
Fourteenth died in the great palace which he had 
built at Versailles. He was not quite seventy- 
seven, and he had been King of France for over seventy- 
two years. His was the longest reign in French history. 

The First Gentleman of the Chamber stopped the 
clock in the King's bedroom at the minute of his death, 
and then passing into the adjoining Salle de PGEil-de- 
Bceuf, appeared on the balcony above the Cour de 
Marbre. To the waiting crowd in the court below he 
cried three times, " Le roi est mort! " then, breaking 
his wand of office, and taking a fresh one, "Vive le 
roi! " 

The new King of France, Louis the Fifteenth, was a 
child five years of age. Four years before, his grand- 
father, the Dauphin, the only son of the " Roi Soteil,'' 
had been carried off by the small-pox. He had lived"" 



little respected, and he died little regretted. The Dau- 
phin's eldest son, the Due de Bourgogne, then be- 
came the heir apparent. It was only for a short period. 
Early in the following year a malignant fever attacked 
the Duchesse, and in a few days she was dead. Her 
death was followed by that of her husband and of their 
eldest son. On the same day, the remains of the three 
were deposited among the tombs of the French monarchs 
at Saint-Denis. Three successive dauphins of France, the 
son, the grandson, and the great-grandson of Louis the 
Fourteenth, had passed away within a year. 

The Due de Bourgogne was a man of serious purposes 
and of exemplary life. If he had reigned it has been 
thought that the benefits of the Revolution might have 
been attained without its horrors. This, however, is 
doubtful. Nothing he ever said or did, in his short life 
of twenty-nine years, would indicate that he had either 
the instinct to be in harmony with the drift of opinion, 
or had the force to control it. He probably would have 
been as powerless as Louis the Sixteenth to arrest the 
course of the French Revolution. 

The person who became regent during the minority 
of the new King was the Due d'Orleans, the nephew of 
Louis the Fourteenth, who had married his cousin, one 
of the illegitimate daughters of that monarch. 

In February 1723, the young King completed his 
thirteenth year; by the law of France he then assumed 
power in person, and the regency terminated. At that 
time the Old Regime was still in full vigor: the general 
social and intellectual condition of the people had shown 
no change. A half a century later, when the " Well-be- 
loved " ended his inglorious reign, the Ancien Regime 
was on the verge of dissolution. In order to understand 
how this change was brought about, it is necessary to ex- 
amine the conditions and institutions of France out of 
which it grew. 

France possessed no constitution: the government was 
an unlimited monarchy. All executive and legislative 
power was vested in the sovereign. He could declare war 



and make peace j he could initiate new laws and dis- 
regard old ones 3 he could impose taxes, and use the 
national revenues as he saw fit. But while the royal 
authority was nominally unrestrained, practically there 
were many things which the king could not do. There 
were innumerable rights and privileges which he could 
not afford to disregard. There were exemptions from 
taxation granted to cities, corporations and classes, which 
he had to respect. The church and the nobility possessed 
privileges, coming down from the feudal period, which 
operated as a check upon the unbridled authority of the 
monarch. Thus the power of the sovereign, while nomi- 
nally absolute, was in practice limited by customs, privi- 
leges and traditions which he was bound to consider. 
The king was really the chief slave of a system which 
he was powerless to modify. If economical by nature, 
tradition forced him to be prodigal 5 if inclined to make 
reforms, nothing was more difficult. 

The people might have continued to endure this sys- 
tem but for two things: the existence of privileges, and 
the financial situation, which in a measure was the out- 
come of these. About two hundred and seventy thou- 
sand Frenchmen were supposed to possess privileges. 
Most of these held feudal rights which exempted them 
from taxation, as a reward for service in former times. 
Many of the great nobles no longer lived on their estates, 
and left them to be mismanaged by agents. The expenses 
of life at Versailles were so great that the demands for 
money were constant, and the stewards in the country, 
even if inclined to be lenient, were forced to exact the 
last sou. 

The Clergy was almost equally unpopular. It was 
rich and powerful. It owned about a fifth of the land 
of France. This land yielded a large revenue, and in 
addition the Clergy exacted tithes on all the agricultural 
products of the realm. The! wealth of the Church has 
probably been exaggerated, but its income from all 
sources could not have been less than two hundred mil- 
lion livres a year. Out of this it was the duty of the 



Church to maintain religious edifices, to support many 
hospitals, and to relieve personal distress by charity. All 
of the property and income of the Church was exempt 
from taxation, although from time to time it paid a 
certain lump sum to the national treasury as a " free 

The division of the revenues of' the Church within it- 
self was also a cause of discontent. The income of the 
one hundred and thirty bishops who ruled the Church 
of France varied from 7000 livres to 4Ckd,ooo a year, 
while the same inequality marked the revenues of the 
various abbeys. While a bishop, like Rohan of Stras- 
bourg, scattered gold in all directions, many of the 
humble parish priests, 6o,CX)0 in number, were starving, 
more or less, on their miserable stipend of 700 livres a 

The unfair distribution of the taxes had exasperated 
the common people, and nobles and clergy alike were 
detested on account of their immunity. All privileged 
persons were exempt from the " taille," the most un- 
endurable of all the direct taxes, which took more than 
fifty per cent, of all incomes. Even more unpopular was 
the " gabelle," the indirect tax of the salt monopoly. 
The peasant's back was nearly broken under the weight 
of this burden of feudal rights, church tithes and royal 
taxes, for he bore nearly the whole brunt of them all. 
The inevitable consequence was that he always lived on 
the verge of disaster. If the harvest was bad and the 
winter unusually severe he faced actual want. It did 
not need the destructive theories of Voltaire and Rous- 
seau, of whom he had never heard, to convince the 
humble tiller of the soil that feudal dues must be abol- 
ished and royal taxes reduced before his lot would be- 
come endurable. The writings of the " philosophers '^ 
had but little to do with bringing on the French Revolu- 

The causes of that great convulsion may be traced 
directly to the reign of Louis the Fourteenth, when the 
monarchy seemed to be in its most flourishing state. That 



reign, which has often been termed the " Golden Age 
of France," was one of those periods in history which 
shine with a peculiar brilliancy, only to be followed by 
gloom and decay. 

The world seems at last to have formed a correct 
judgment regarding the Grand Monarque. He was not 
a great statesman j he was not a great general j but he 
was, in a sense of the word, a great king. Both his in- 
ternal administration and his foreign policy were bad. 
The military triumphs which gave splendor to the early 
days of his reign were not achieved by himself, and were 
followed by years of humiliation and defeat. Yet he 
succeeded to the last in impressing those who surrounded 
him with the deepest awe and reverence. This is all the 
more remarkable because his whole life was passed in 
the public gaze. It is an old saying that no man is a 
hero to his valet, but the whole Court assembled to see 
Louis rise in the morning and go to bed at night. All 
Versailles came to see him dine and sup, and he walked 
around the park with two hundred courtiers in his train. 
Voltaire speaks of his majestic stature, and all of his 
contemporaries thought him tallj but when the royal 
tombs at Saint-Denis were violated during the Revolu- 
tion, it was found that this most majestic of princes was 
only five feet eight. 

He left to his infant successor a beaten and humbled 
army, an empty treasury and an enormous debt; but 
magnificent palaces and an innumerable household. While 
the nation was starving, the Court was never so flourish- 
ing. Yet the luxury by which he was surrounded, instead 
of making him unpopular, seems only to have increased 
the respect and admiration which his subjects felt for 
him. Never was there so consummate a master of king- 

In the spring of 1774, the end was near of the reign of 
Louis the Fifteenth — one of the longest, one of the 
most disastrous, and by far the most disgraceful in the 
history of France. Declining years had brought no change 

V [7] 


in the old King's method of life, and during the winter 
the frivolity and dissipation of the Court had continued 
unabated. On the 28 April the King sought refuge from 
the ennui of Versailles at the Trianon, and here he be- 
came seriously ill. He was taken back to the palace, and 
it soon became manifest that he had small-pox in a very 
virulent form. At the Court, as well as among the people 
at large, the hope that the disease would prove fatal was 
hardly concealed. The time had long passed when Louis 
was well called the " bien-aime." The calamities of the 
reign, the wastefulness of the government, the ignominy 
of his private life, had made all classes desirous of a 
change. Nothing could be worse than the reign of Louis 
the Fifteenth. 

On the sixth of May the King received the sacraments, 
and four days later he died. He was sixty-four years old, 
and had been King of France for fifty-nine years. 

It may be of interest here to review briefly the changes 
in material conditions and social customs, which the long 
reign of Louis the Fifteenth witnessed. 

The reign in many respects had been a failure. Dis- 
astrous wars had resulted in the loss of nearly all the 
colonial possessions of France, and had given England, 
her greatest rival, the control of the seas and the mastery 
of North America and India. The finances of the country 
were in a desperate condition, and successive ministers 
had shown their inability to deal with the problems of 
the day. The ignominy of the sovereign's life had re- 
sulted in largely destroying the " divinity (which) doth 
hedge a king." 

Nevertheless, it is surprising to find at the close of 
the reign a feeling of hopefulness, and confidence in the 
future, where despondency might have been expected. 
Nor did this anticipation of future happiness rest entirely 
upon the prophecies of political enthusiasts. Many im- 
provements in material conditions were apparent to the 

The changes in Paris were most marked, and Voltaire 



speaks with delight of the thousands of lamps which 
illuminated it, of the cleanliness of its streets, and the 
good order which prevailed. 

Paris was even then a great city, and its population was 
not far from seven hundred thousand. Much had been 
done even under Louis the Fourteenth to improve the 
sanitary condition of the capital. Formerly the city had 
not been lighted at allj now eight thousand lanterns 
served in a measure to dispel the gloom. But on moon- 
light nights the lamps were not lighted, and the traveller 
found his way about as best he could. 

Shortly before the Revolution it was estimated that 
the number of buildings had increased over thirty per 
cent, within twenty-five years. At the beginning of this 
period the Hotel des Invalides had been considered as 
in the country j now it was surrounded by houses. Another 
improvement during the century had been the placing of 
signs to indicate the names of the streets, and the num- 
bering of the houses. 

Cafes, the first of which was opened at the end of the 
preceding century, had increased rapidly, and at the time 
of the death of Louis the Fifteenth there were over five 
hundred in the city. 

With all of these improvements, much of the mediaeval 
city still remained. There were no sidewalks, and down 
Jhe centre of_many__of Jthe streets extended a gutter to 
(:anxI^ff3^-Accumulaie(£j^ was"jb / 

bad that in rainy weather these^^oiT became torrents. '' 
This flood was thrown to the right and left by coaches ^ 
and carts, and to* keep as far as possible from the carriage 
road was therefore the endeavor of every pedestrian. C 

When the darkness fell the difficulty and danger of 
walking about Paris became serious indeed. The windows 
were opened and pails were emptied with little regard 
to those passing below. The filth and odors of many 
streets were as bad as in some Oriental towns of the 
present day. 

There were no police to preserve order, and thieves 
and robbers plied their trade with impunity. The only 



protection of the city was from the regular troops 
stationed there, who were only called out to suppress 

The growth of the capital had caused a steady rise in 
rents, which instead of being regarded as a sign of in- 
creased prosperity was looked upon by many puzzled 
observers as an indication that the nation was ruined. 
The rise was most marked in the fashionable quarters, 
which were then the Faubourg Saint-Germain and the 
Faubourg Saint-Honore. Everybody wanted to leave the 
provinces and come to live at Paris, which many4DersQns 
considered a positive sign of national decadence. 

Nor was this improvement confined to Paris j in fifty 
years Marseille and Bordeaux had doubled in popula- 
tion, and many other cities showed a rapid growth. An- 
other chronicler writes that houses were better built, car- 
riages more comfortable, roads better kept, inns more 
numerous and cleaner than in the past. 

In the country there were many signs of agricultural 
progress. Formerly the absentee landlords had paid but 
little attention to the cultivation of their estates, but soon 
after 1750 the press began to give prominence to articles 
on the production and sale of grain, and the people took 
great interest in these questions. Within the following 
thirty years agriculture made more advance than during 
three centuries before. The amount of land reclaimed 
in all parts of France was very considerable. In 1766, 
lands thus recovered were relieved from taxation, and 
Necker stated later, in his report on the finances, that 
altogether permissions were granted to reclaim a million 
acres of land. 

The growth of the manufacturing industries in France 
was also rapid at this period compared with the past, but 
was not nearly so striking as in England at the same 
time. Although the French were leaders in political and 
literary influence, and in scientific research, they made no 
improvements in the practical appliances of industry 
which could be compared to the discoveries of Watt and 
other inventors which came a little later. A deadening in- 

[10] . 


fluence on inventive progress in France was exercised by 
the complicated system of regulations through which it 
was sought to bind industry in unchanging forms. As one 
writer put it: " They do for us what the Chinese do for 
the feet of their women: we are bound so tightly in rules 
that we cannot grow." 

Soon after the middle of the century the surgeons for 
the first time escaped from the tutelage of the barbers, 
who had long claimed the exclusive right to perform 
operations, and secured their recognition by the doctors 
as members of a learned profession. At the same time, 
inoculation became quite general. This had long been 
used by the Chinese and other Eastern peoples, and 
through the letters of Lady Wortley Montagu had be- 
come known in England, where it was adopted with great 
success. The French people, with their usual conserva- 
tism, had been slow to accept this innovation, and the 
royal family had always refused to submit to inoculation, 
although many members had died of small-pox. The 
more progressive younger branch of Orleans advocated 
the practice some years before the King's death, and their 
example was followed by many others. By 1766, the use 
of inoculation was extending rapidly, and a hospital was 
built at Paris for the purpose. Vaccination was not intro- 
duced by Doctor Jenner until the early part of the next 

Other reforms met with even more opposition. An 
effort was made to furnish Paris with water-works which 
would enlarge and improve the supply of the city, but 
the measure was delayed by the twenty thousand men who 
had the monopoly of operating the water carts, and who 
foresaw the ruin of their business. 

A practice under the Old Regime which has been uni- 
versally condemned, although quite generally misunder- 
stood, was the famous lettre de cachety an order supposed 
to issue from the king himself, under which a man could 
be arrested without formal charge, and confined for an 
indefinite term without trial. These orders, contrary to 
the general opinion, were rarely issued for political pur- 

[ lO 


poses. Their chief use was in the exercise of the paternal 
role which the monarch endeavored to fill. The king 
stood in loco farentis to a people taught to respect parental 
authority to a greater extent than is the case even now in 
France. The sovereign, as head of the State, could prop- 
erly exercise over his people that authority which every 
father claimed in his own family. A large proportion of 
the lettres de cachet were issued at the request of parents. 
It is well known that the famous Mirabeau was confined 
at Vincennes at the demand of his father, to prevent him 
from bringing disgrace upon his family. There were in- 
numerable petitions of this nature, and such requests were 
rarely refused. "Z ^ 

At few periods has social life been more charming. 
Hospitality was practiced on a large scale, and .the great 
houses stood open for guests at all hours. .Grand din ners 
were never given, because every one dined at an early 
hour — three o'clock at the latest;. The ladies never, 
dressed for dinner, and the men usually wore plain_^r 
embroidered costumes, but never evening dress or uni- 
forms. After dinner there was general conversation, and 
later the ladies retired to dress, while the men awaited 
them to go to the theatre. Those who remained at home 
received visits during the afternoon. At nine-thirty in 
the evening the guests arrived for supper. This was the 
real event of the day in society. At this time tKefe'were 
fewer balls than later. The costumes worn by the ladies 
made dancing almost impossible. Every one wore heels 
three inches highj a pannier of heavy and stiff whale- 
bone, extending on each sidej a coiffure a foot high, sur- 
mounted by a bonnet, upon which feathers, flowers and 
jewels were piled up, besides a pound of powder and 
pomade which at the least movement fell upon the 
shoulders. The head-dresses were so lofty that women 
could not find carriages high enough to admit them and 
were obliged to kneel down or put their heads out of the 

The portraits of the time still preserve for us some 
refl ection of a society which has passed from the earth. 



In the paintings of Boucher and Fragonard we can see 
the elaborate dress, the tranquil features and the perfect 
breeding of those^who believed that the main object gf_ 
lile was to secure its pleasu res. No existencejwas^ever_ 
more artificial or more charming. 

During the life of Louis Quatorze'the French aristoc- 
racy was drilled in etiquette at Versailles as severely as 
the Prussian grenadiers were put through the manual 
of arms at Potsdam. The politeness of the King was at 
once a masterpiece in itself and a method of government: 
it was charming, it was also useful. The infinite grace and 
the imposing majesty of his countenance did more than 
can be told for the greatness of his reign. He never passed 
the humblest woman without raising his hat. He spoke 
little, but a word from him was an honor about which 
people talked. In short, no man ever sold his words, his 
smiles, and his glances to better advantage. It is not easy 
to realize the effort imposed on himself by this man 
whose whole existence was spent in public j who never 
for a moment forgot that he was the Great King, and 
played his role without once weakening in the course of 
over fifty years! He remains the perfect type of the 
finished gentleman. 

During the reign of Louis the Fifteenth the authority 
which Versailles had exercised was gradually transferred 
to the salons of Paris, where there was a freedom and 
charm of conversation, an interest ^_d^h^ excite 
Tj^hich could not be.fQiind amid the restrictions of courT 
life.. The influence of Versailles was waning, that of Paris 
was waxing. This was true not only in society,^ but.also 
in politics and literature. The judgments of the Court, 
on the merits of a book or of a play were no longer 
. accepted. For the next quarter of a century ~the g reaF 
.Parisian salons were the centres of European thought. 
In them were elaborated the doctrines which spread over 
the Continent. Nowhere did the teachings of Voltaire and 
Rousseau find a more cordial reception than among the 
French aristocrats who were the choicest product of the. 
jDldJlegime, and who were destined to perish wi th it. 



No review of this period would be complete without 
a reference to the political literature which prepared the 
way for the Revolution. Through the century a group of 
brilliant writers gave expression to the discontent and 
longing of the age. Many of these ideas were of Ameri- 
can or English origin j some were of native growth. It 
was a literature of criticism, of denunciation, of sugges- 
tions for a brighter future. It was not wholly destructive: 
to a certain extent it was even constructive in its tendency. 
The volume of these writings was large, and the influence 

The campaign was opened by Montesquieu, a promi- 
nent lawyer, a judge of the Parlement of Bordeaux, and a 
member of the nobility of the robe. His great work was 
the " Spirit of Laws," published in 1748. It had an im- 
mediate and enormous success, and ran through twenty 
editions in as many months. It was a cold, clear, dispas- 
sionate analysis of the various forms of government, 
ignoring contemptuously the claims of divine origin, and 
striking at the very roots of the system of the Old Regime. 
The English government, according to his ideas, was the 
best, because it guaranteed personal liberty to all citizens. 
He also set forth the necessity in any well-organized state 
of separating the executive from the legislative and judi- 
cial branches of the government. In the French mon- 
archy all were blended and fused in the single person 
of the king. These principles have dominated all of 
the constitutions of France sfince 1789, and have exer- 
cised an influence far beyond the boundaries of that 

Even more remarkable, although of a very different 
character, was the work of Voltaire, the master spirit of 
the age. No writer was ever more versatile. He was emi- 
nent not only as a poet, but also as a historian, a drama- 
tist, and even as a scientist. He was a brilliant leader in 
the fight for the liberation of mankind. With good reason 
he detested the Old Regime, and no one did more to 
bring about its downfall. He literally proved the truth 
of the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword. 



He was never tiresome, he was always interesting, and he 
generally had something to say. Voltaire, however, was 
not a democrat 5 his idea of government was a benevolent 
despotism. As he expressed it, he would rather be ruled 
by one lion than by a hundred rats. Well known at the 
age of twenty-three, when he died sixty years later he was 
regarded as the greatest genius of the age. 

Very different in tone and tendency were the writings 
of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. His work was constructive, 
while that of Voltaire was destructive. He advocated the 
creation of an entirely new political system, because 
nothing less would make liberty possible. He detested the 
Old Order, which he regarded as the cause of all the ills 
from which humanity was suffering. The son of a Geneva 
watchmaker, he had practiced many trades: valet, music- 
teacher, tutor. He had wandered far and wide, and had 
known want and misery. 

Rousseau's principal work was his " Contrat Social," 
one of the most famous and influential books ever writ- 
ten. Opening with the statement that " man was born free 
and is everywhere in chains," he proceeds to outline a 
purely ideal state, in complete contrast with the one in 
which he lived. He maintains that all men are free and 
equal J that society rests upon an agreement of the per- 
sons who compose it 3 that the people are sovereign — not 
any individual nor any class. He did not agree with 
Montesquieu in his admiration for the British form of, 
government, and did not think that the English people 
really enjoyed personal liberty. 

Many of his ideas were unsound and impractical. He 
did not believe in the representative system of govern- 
ment and thought that the people should themselves 
make the laws. Government must always be by majorities j 
the majority may make mistakes, but it is always right — 
a very dangerous doctrine. It made possible a tyranny by 
a majority over a minority quite as complete and as 
odious as any royal despotism. But two of his ideas stood 
out in high relief — the sovereignty of the people and 
the political equality of all citizens, and these principles 



were to profoundly affect the course of the French 

The influence of the political writers in bringing about 
the Revolution is a fascinating question, but no more space 
can be given to it here. Only one man out of twenty in 
France at that time could read or write, and it was the 
illiterate masses, not the educated classes, who caused the 
Revolution. The explanation is to be found in the condi- 
tions and evils of the national life, and in the errors of 
the government, rather than in the writings of the " phil- 
osophers." The Revolution of 1789 was much less a 
rebellion against despotism than a revolt against inequal- 
ity j its nature was far more social than political. The 
populace had not read Rousseau and Voltaire j they cared 
little for liberty J they had no dreams of a parliament like 
that of Westminster, a constitution like the American. 
Their desire was to secure social equality, and to be re- 
lieved from crushing taxation. This is the real explana- 
tion of the fall of the Ancien Regime, 





Death of Louis the Fifteenth — Childhood of Marie-Antoinette — 
Her Marriage — The Dauphin — His Personality — Appearance 
and Character of Marie-Antoinette — Her Married Life — The 
Paris Fetes — Debut of the Reign — Popularity of the Queen — 
The Royal Family — The " Era of Follies " — The Opera Balls 

— Extravagance of the Queen — Passion for Play — Growing 
Unpopularity — Visit of the Emperor Joseph — His Good Advice 

— Efforts to Reconcile the Royal Couple — His Final Instructions 

— Birth of Madame Royale — End of the First Phase 

IT is the tenth day of May 1774, and a fortnight has 
elapsed since the old King was stricken with the dread 
disease at the Trianon and brought back to Versailles. 
At three o'clock in the afternoon, a! lighted candle, placed 
in the window of a room adjoining that in which the King 
is dying, is suddenly extinguished. It is the signal agreed 
upon to announce the end. At the same moment, a pro- 
longed noise, " like that of thunder," awakens the echoes 
of the long silent Chateau j an instant later, quick steps 
resound in the antechamber of the Dauphine: it is the 
crowd of courtiers who are rushing to salute the new 
sovereigns of France. Overpowered with many emotions, 
Louis the Sixteenth and Marie-Antoinette fall on their 
knees together, and with streaming eyes exclaim: " O 
God, guide us, protect us; we are too young to reign! " 
The same evening, at six o'clock, the Court is installed 
at Choisy. The new reign has begun. 

Let us pause for a few moments to observe the young 
sovereigns, before taking up the story of the reign, with 
its great duties and its many heavy burdens. 

[ 17 1 


Marie-Antoinette was the ninth child and the sixth 
daughter of Maria Theresa, and her husband, Francis 
of Lorraine, Holy Roman Emperor. She was born on the 
second of November 1755, the same day that an earth- 
quake destroyed the city of Lisbon, burying under the 
ruins more than thirty thousand persons, and causing to 
flee from their palace the King and Queen of Portu- 
gal, the sponsors of the child. This terrible coincidence, 
however, was not thought of as an omen until a later 

Of her childhood it is unnecessary to speak at length. 
Her winters were passed with her brothers and sisters at 
the Burg, the imperial palace in Vienna, and the other 
seasons at the chateau of Schonbrunn in the suburbs. The 
Empress was too much occupied with affairs of State 
to supervise her education, which was much neglected. 
Her favorite playmate was her sister Caroline, the 
future Queen of Naples. 

She was only nine years of age when the idea was 
first suggested of her marriage with the Dauphin of 
France, the heir of Louis the Fifteenth. It is needless 
to say that this idea was entirely political in its origin. 
The Courts of Vienna and Versailles felt the necessity 
of an alliance, strengthened by a family bond, as a safe- 
guard against the encroachments of Prussia, the jealousy 
of England, and the menace of Russia. No trace can be 
found of official negotiations. The plan, tacitly agreed 
upon, gradually took form, and was generally under- 
stood long before it was announced. 

The contract was signed on the fourth of April 1770, 
and the marriage by procuration took place on the nine- 
teenth, the Archduke Ferdinand representing the Dau- 
phin. The little bride was not yet fourteen and a half 
years old, and was so ignorant that she could hardly 
read or write. Two days after the ceremony the Dauphine 
set out for France, after a tender parting with her 
mother, whom she was never to see again. 

The journey was made by short stages, and it was not 
until the 14 May that the cortege reached Compiegne 



where the French royal family had arrived the previous 
day. The King seemed to be delighted with the little 
Archiduchesse, while the Dauphin, who " kissed her on 
the cheek," appeared cold, silent and embarrassed. 

Louis-Auguste, Dauphin of France, was then fifteen 
years and nine months old, having been born on the 23 
August 1754. During his childhood he was very delicate, 
but as the result of intelligent care, and constant exercise 
in the open air, at the chateau of Bellevue, where he 
was brought up, the robust blood of the Bourbons had in 
the end overcome the lymphatic temperament which he 
inherited from his mother. He was now a fat, chubby 
boy, with large limbs, with a somewhat heavy look, but 
very different nevertheless from what he became later, 
from the " lourdaud obese " (obese clumsy fellow) 
whom the inhabitants of Varennes saw with stupor 
descend from the herline. His face was plain, his nose 
arched and red, his teeth irregular. He was very short- 
sighted, and his timidity, which prevented him from 
looking people in the face, gave him an unfortunate air 
of dissimulation. His voice was rough and inharmonious. 
His appearance was common, and he was rarely well- 
groomed, with his hair in disorder and a general air of 
untidiness. When seated, he had a certain majesty of 
bearing, but as soon as he stood up, the clumsy balancing 
of his body, and his waddling gait, destroyed this good 

Heavy and vulgar in appearance, he was no fool: 
there has been much misapprehension on this point. He 
had received a good education, especially in history and 
geography, and had really a remarkable memory. He 
was liberal and generous-minded, a true Christian, with 
a spirit which was too forgiving. The most striking point 
about his character was his lack of determination: he 
had no will. During his whole life, this was his principal 
defect, the cause of all his faults, the origin of all his 
misfortunes. This natural weakness was allied, as fre- 
quently happens, with a certain brutality of manners. 
Although kind and good, he wounded people without 



knowing it, and he was particularly disagreeable when he 
was in good humor. 

At bottom, and this is the worst of his traits, his duties 
bored him. He was born for private life, but his ances- 
tors, as Mignet puts it, had " bequeathed him a Revo- 
lution." Politics, war, love, had no charms for him: he 
had one passion only, the chase, and between two hunting 
excursions he worked as a locksmith. These expeditions 
gave him a huge appetite, almost the only Bourbon 
characteristic he possessed. In short, Louis was not a true 
scion of his race. Pious to the point of bigotry, and 
chaste to the extent of neglecting his wife, he had in his 
veins but little of the blood of Henri Quatre — the 

It would be difficult to imagine a greater contrast than 
that between this gross prince and the attractive young 
girl whom Destiny had given him for a wife. The only 
point of resemblance between them was their ages: he 
was not quite sixteen years old, she was fourteen and 
a half. They were only two children: the one immature, 
the other precocious. In all respects, they were different. 
The portraits and the descriptions agree in proclaiming 
the charm of Marie-Antoinette. She was not thin, but 
svelte; her form was supple and well modelled 5 her 
manner, lively and gracious. Of medium height at this 
time, she was to continue to grow until her nineteenth 
year. Her feet, her hands, her neck and shoulders, were 
irreproachable in contour. Without having regular fea- 
tures, she attracted every one at the first glance. Her 
face, which was rather long, was of a pure ovalj her 
forehead, slightly rounded, was crowned with a dense 
mass of blond hair, lightly powdered 5 her nose was 
rather arched than aquiline, and fine at the end 5 her 
mouth was small, her lips ruby, with the Austrian promi- 
nent lower lip; her eyes, of an azure blue, were slightly 
prominent, and very bright and expressive. Her complex- 
ion was dazzling, of a transparent delicacy, and with a 
natural color which rendered unnecessary the use of the 
rouge which was then required by custom. She carried 



her head high, and this, with the shape of her mouth, 
would have given her a disdainful air, if her grace and her 
desire to please had not altered this haughty expression 
as soon as she began to speak. Her smile won all hearts j 
and her voice completed the charm: it was clear, well- 
modulated, and of an attractive softness, with just a touch 
of a German accent, which she overcame later on. All her 
movements were correct and harmonious. 

Between her and the Dauphin there was the same 
lack of resemblance in character and in intellect. She 
had not a deep mentality, but she grasped an idea quickly 
and assimilated it without difficulty. She was endowed 
with a subtile tact, a delicate flatTy which enabled her to 
find, under all circumstances, the correct expression, the 
appropriate word: a gift more precious in the case of a 
princess than the most brilliant animation. As already 
stated, she was not well educated: a little history and 
geography, with a smattering of Latin and Italian, com- 
prised all of her acquirements. She spoke French cor- 
rectly; and she loved music, without being a good 
performer 5 but she was not fond of reading, or at least 
of serious literature. She made the most of what knowl- 
edge she had: with her the savoir-faire took the place 
of the savoir. In fine, she was a woman, a woman to her 

In reality, she was good, upright, and honorable; 
although her praiseworthy qualities were too often com- 
promised by a frivolity, and a love of pleasure, which 
led her to sacrifice duty and principle to the fantasy of 
the moment. At this time, however, she gave the im- 
pression of a spoiled child, of a child badly brought up, 
to whom much can be forgiven. 

Such were the qualities of the two young people who 
met for the first time at Compiegne on the 14 May 
1770. From there the Court proceeded to Versailles, 
where the marriage was celebrated on the sixteenth by 
the Archbishop of Reims. That evening when the wed- 
ding party sat down to supper the King remarked to his 
grandson, " Do not eat too much to-night." To which 



the Dauphin replied, " Why not? I always sleep better 
after a good supper." He seems to have slept well that 
night, for the following day, in his diary, in which he 
recorded regularly the important events of his life, we 
find only the entry ^^ Rien" (Nothing). 

During the seven following years he could, without 
falsehood, repeat the same word every day. It is neces- 
sary to refer to this delicate matter because it goes far 
to explain and to palliate the conduct of Marie-Antoinette 
during this period of her life. Her husband hardly 
addressed a word to her for days at a time. In the 
morning he entered her room for a moment to ask if 
she had slept Well, and then left her, to appear again 
only at meal-time. No one at the Court could understand 
this strange neglect of a young and charming bride. The 
only possible explanation is the timidity and immaturity 
of the Dauphin. 

To celebrate the marriage the King ordered nine days 
of fetes. These closed with the too famous day of the 
30 May at Paris, which ended in the well-known catas- 
trophe caused by the exhibition of fireworks in the 
Gardens of the Tuileries. There was a sudden panic 
among the hundred thousand spectators massed in the 
Place Louis-Quinze, now the Place de la Concorde, and 
over one hundred people were killed and nearly a thou- 
sand seriously injured. This was the Dauphine's first visit 
to the capital, and the scene made a very painful impres- 
sion upon her. 

The cataclysm of Lisbon, at the time of her birth, and 
the disaster of the Place Louis-Quinze, upon the thresh- 
old of her married life, were, to say the least, strange 
coincidences, and might well cause even the least super- 
stitious to dread what Fate might have in store for 

Everything at the debut of the new reign was really 
irreproachable, and Marie-Antoinette appeared to the 
best advantage. She made a sincere effort to overcome 
her faults, and tried to win the hearts of her subjects. 



She practiced economy, wore simple toilettes, and en- 
deavored to take a serious interest in aflFairs. She also 
made an effort to please her husband, who was so appre- 
ciative that he made her a present, for her own private 
use, of the Petit-Trianon, saying, " This place has always 
been the sejour of the favorites of the kings j it ought 
therefore to be your own." Marie-Antoinette inaugurated 
her new property by giving a dinner to the King and 
the whole royal family. It was like the beginning of a 
new honeymoon. 

The Queen is proud of her progress, and boasts ingen- 
uously to Mercy-Argenteau, the Austrian ambassador, 
" You must admit that I have reformed in many ways." 
She has also gained physically. The rather thin, un- 
formed, little girl has remarkably developed since the 
day of her marriage. She has perceptibly grown taller; 
her bust is full and round; her arms are perfect in their 
contour. She has a new dignity and nobility of bearing 
which reminds one always that she is the queen of France, 
even when she makes no pretence of being more than a 
pretty woman. 

In mounting the throne, she has acquired more assur- 
ance. Her excellent memory enables her to retain names 
and faces: a precious gift for sovereigns, which wins 
them as much love as favors. She captures all hearts by 
her sincere desire to please. 

Since her arrival, she has learned the French language 
perfectly, and speaks it almost without accent. It is a 
cause of grief to her mother that she has almost forgotten 

For all these diflFerent reasons, and on account of her 
really fine qualities, at the beginning of the reign Marie- 
Antoinette seemed likely to be popular. Young and bril- 
liant, she had succeeded queens who were old and neg- 
lected, and this novelty captured the admiration of the 
nation. Says a contemporary writer, "If one had wished 
to create a sovereign expressly for the French, one could 
not have succeeded better." It is rather remarkable that 
this first success was due to the very qualities which later 



were to cause her to be detested by the nation. For the 
moment, however, she was popular. Wherever she 
appeared, in the streets, or at the theatre, in the city 
or the country, she was received with transports of en- 

The only shadow upon the life of the Queen at this 
time was the royal family. No one ever had more unbear- 
able relatives. The elder of the two brothers of the 
King, MonsieuTy the Comte de Provence, was at this 
time very different from the world-wise man, ennobled 
by misfortune, who was later to occupy the throne as 
Louis the Eighteenth. A year younger than the King, 
even more corpulent than he, but with a much finer 
intellect, he ruined all his gifts of mind by a false and 
dissimulating character, and a jealous ambition which 
hesitated at nothing to gain its ends. Marie-Antoinette 
could not conceal her antipathy for him, and was always 
on her guard against him. 

It is to be regretted that she did not have the same 
feeling with regard to his younger brother, Comte 
d'Artois, afterwards Charles the Tenth. To be sure, he 
had a more attractive appearance, but his external advan- 
tages were sadly compensated for by a common and 
vulgar mind, a limited intelligence, and a brutality in 
conversation which was aggravated by his self-confidence 
and assurance. He passed his days and nights in carousing 
and gambling, was always in debt, and continually sur- 
rounded by a band of libertines, who flattered him, and 
compromised his name. 

With all his faults, he amused the Queen. He was of 
the same age, and, like her, was fond of worldly pleas- 
ures, and knew how to divert her. They were often seen 
together, on foot, on horseback, or in carriages, and 
always whispering or laughing. This intimacy, although 
entirely innocent, exasperated Mercy, and made the 
Empress furious. The consequences certainly injured her 

The first prince of the blood, the Due de Chartres, 
later known as the Due d'Orleans, and still later as 



Philippe-figalite, was the declared enemy of the Queen. 
At first he had tried to enter into her good graces, and 
had given balls and dinners in her honor, but nothing 
could overcome the natural antipathy which Marie- 
Antoinette felt for this cynical and dissolute prince. 
Later he became the leader of the faction hostile to the 

It is impossible to give any space to the female mem- 
bers of the family, as they had little to do with the 
course of events. They comprised the wives of Provence 
and Artois, both daughters of the King of Sardinia j 
Mesdames, the three aunts of Louis, and his two sisters, 
Clotilde and filisabeth. 

Louis the Fifteenth had left four unmarried daugh- 
ters: Adelaide, Victoire, Sophie and Louise, whom he 
called respectively ho que y Cochey Graille and Chijfe, 
At this time they were four ugly, disagreeable old 
ladies, very different in appearance from the beau- 
tiful women shown in the portraits by Nattier in the 
galleries at Versailles. The youngest daughter, Louise, 
had retired to a convent at Saint-Denis, and only three 
were at Court. 

Clotilde was so fat that she was generally known as 
" grosse madame." In 1777 she married the Prince of 
Piedmont, afterwards King of Sardinia. Elisabeth, who 
was born afc Versailles 3 May 1764, was never married, 
and was the victim of her tender attachment for the 
King, her brother. 

None of these seven princesses were of the slightest 
support to Marie- Antoinette, and on the contrary were 
a source of danger. With their suites, they numbered 
altogether one hundred women, and their salons were so 
many centres of gossip and scandal. Among them all the 
young Queen had not one real friend to guide or advise 

The enthusiasm which Marie-Antoinette had aroused 
on her arrival in France lasted in full force until J 775. 
"Then," writes the Comte de Provence, "it began to 

[ 25 ] 


diminish, and soon was entirely extinguished. It was then 
that the libels and the songs against her began to appear, 
and that she was compared to Messalina for debauchery 
and cruelty." It is now necessary to speak of this sudden 
and, on the whole, unjust turn-about in the public 
attitude, which came like a clap of thunder out of a 
clear sky. 

In the life of Marie- Antoinette there was a relatively 
short space of only three years which settled her fate — 
the time from 1775 to 1778. This is the period of dis- 
sipations, of unlimited pleasures, of endless prodigali- 
ties. " In a word," says Segur, " it was the era of follies, 
of which the consequences were terrible." 

In beginning the story of her indiscretions, it is im- 
possible to pass in silence over the balls of the Opera, 
which she attended at first with the King, but where she 
soon began to go accompanied only by several familiar 
friends of both sexes. During the month of February 
1777 she went as many as six times. She was recognized 
by the crowd, who familiarly called her " Antoinette," 
and followed her around the hall. One Sunday morning, 
returning to Versailles at seven o'clock, in answer to a 
question as to the hour of mass, she replied with a laugh, 
'^ I heard it at Paris." This moty which was naturally 
repeated, had a most deplorable effect. 

In vain Mercy scolded and implored: she only replied 
to his reproaches by further escapades. She claimed that 
the King approved of all she did, which was nearly 
correct: Louis astonished the entire Court by his un- 
limited complaisance. 

Another reproach which was made against the Queen 
was the great amount of money she spent upon her 
toilettes. As Dauphine, she had been very reasonable in 
this respect, but all this was changed as soon as she 
mounted the throne. Even more grave was her passion 
for jewelry and rare stones. In January 1776, for 
example, she paid six hundred thousand francs for some 
diamond pendants, and six months later, two hundred 
and fifty thousand for a pair of bracelets. 



Such an example set by the Queen was naturally fol- 
lowed by the Court and in society j the public, not without 
reason, was offended, and the extravagance and bad taste 
of Marie-Antoinette were even spoken of in the news- 

Her principal fault, however, and the one which did 
her more harm than all the rest put together, was her 
passion for gambling, which possessed her for so long, 
and which even to the last she could never entirely over- 
come. It cannot be said that play, even high play, was 
unknown at Versailles. The " jeu du Roi " for more than 
a century had been an institution of etiquette. It was 
notorious that during the reigns of the last two kings 
enormous sums had passed through the hands of the 
favorites like Montespan and Pompadour, to mention 
only the two who were best known. But these practices 
were reserved for the mistresses of the king. Never had 
a queen of France taken part in any play, except a modest 
game of whist or loto. 

Persuaded by Artois and Chartres, who were con- 
firmed gamblers, the Queen began to play, and soon, 
what at first had been a pastime, became a ruling pas- 
sion. Two years later, she no longer had any self-restraint. 
She played not only in her own rooms, but in all the 
salons she visited. 

One of the deplorable results of this passion was the 
class of people she introduced at Court. When many of 
the higher nobility withdrew from the game, frightened 
by the size of the stakes, she invited a lot of professional 
gamblers to take part. The Court of France, in the words 
of her brother Joseph, had become a regular gambling- 
hell. The greater part of the calumnies from which 
Marie- Antoinette suffered prior to the final catastrophe 
had their origin around the green table where she passed 
all of her nights. 

As might naturally be expected, the Queen was soon 
heavily in debt. At the end of 1776, Mercy, at her 
request, went over her accounts and found that she owed 
nearly five hundred thousand livres. She had recourse to 



the King, who generously gave her the entire amount 
without hesitation and with the best grace in the world. 

These facts, which soon became known, and were 
talked of everywhere, provoked a general outcry. The 
people were told that Marie-Antoinette had three 
hundred horses, where the late Queen had half that 
number, and that consequently her stable cost two hun- 
dred thousand livres morej that enormous sums were 
being spent on the embellishment of Trianon and on the 
f€tes given there j that the positions created for her 
familiar friends cost a quarter of a million a year, and 
so on. Not only were these facts commented on: they 
were grossly exaggerated. Soon the Queen was regarded, 
says Provence, in the same light as the mistresses of the 
late King. When she appeared in public, in place of the 
former cheers, she was received with a glacial silence, 
or even with subdued murmurs. A little later she was 
to be hailed as Madame Deficit, 

The Empress, in despair, after writing her daughter 
that she is on the road to ruin, has ceased to lecture, and 
in her letters speaks only of the " rain and the fine 
weather." But one hope is left: her son Joseph, the 
Emperor of Germany, is to make a visit to Paris, under 
the pretext of seeing France, but in reality to have a 
serious talk with Marie-Antoinette, and endeavor to 
persuade her to change her ways. 

Joseph the Second, who was fourteen years older than 
Marie-Antoinette, was the eldest son of Maria Theresa. 
He succeeded his father as Emperor in 1765, and in- 
herited the dignities and possessions of the House of 
Austria on the death of his mother in 1780. As head of 
the family, Joseph had always assumed the right to 
counsel and direct his younger brothers and sisters — a 
role well suited to his temperament. The prospect of a 
critical examination of her method of life was far from 
pleasing to Marie-Antoinette. To the severe reprimands 
of the Empress she had always been very submissive: 
she wrote, " She judges me too severely, but she is my 
mother, who loves me dearly, and when she speaks I 




have only to bow my head." But she was not so willing to 
listen to fraternal advice. 

After long negotiations, it was finally arranged that 
the Emperor was to travel incognito j that during his 
stay he was not to discuss with the Queen either public 
or private affairs, unless she opened the subject j that 
he was simply to be a looker-on j and that only at the 
end of his visit was he to make known to his sister the 
results of his observations. 

He arrived at Paris on the i8 April 1777, accom- 
panied only by one aide de camp. Early the following 
morning, he proceeded to Versailles, where he was re- 
ceived by the Queen in her bedroom. The interview was 
not very cordial, but the ice was soon broken by the 
entrance of the King, who was very friendly and simple 
in his greeting. They dined together in the same room, 
served without ceremony by the Queen's maids; and 
the King, contrary to his habitude, took the lead in the 
conversation. Afterwards Joseph went to a private house 
in Versailles. 

The first days of his visit, Joseph adhered to the pro- 
gram agreed upon, although in the course of a short 
promenade with his sister at Trianon he spoke to her of 
the evils of her excessive expenditures and in particular 
of the dangers of her passion for play. He made no 
attempt to lecture her, however, and Marie- Antoinette 
was not offended. On the contrary, she thanked him, and 
said that she would follow his good advice. 

This period of peace did not last long. Gradually 
Joseph forgot his good resolutions, and reproached his 
sister for the society which she had chosen, and censured 
her words, her manners, and her toilettes. At first Marie- 
Antoinette supported these criticisms with much patience, 
but finally, under his repeated attacks, she became angry, 
and told her brother that he was going too far. 

Upon one point only, and that the most important 
of all, Joseph obtained marked concessions j that is with 
respect to the relations between the Queen and her 
husband. In spite of the kindness of Louis, a coldness 



had grown up between the young royal couple. For this 
Louis was more to blame than his wife: from the first 
he had treated her with a strange neglect. As Marie- 
Antoinette wrote to her mother: " The indifference is 
surely not on my side, my situation is very embarrass- 
ing." Later, when the Comtesse d'Artois gave birth 
to a son, she wrote : " It is unnecessary for me to say 
how much I have suffered to see an heir who is not my 

First, with his sister, and then with his brother-in-law, 
Joseph did not hesitate to broach this delicate question. 
Following these conferences, the Emperor had a secret 
interview with the royal physician, Lassone, the im- 
portance of which was recognized later on. He thus 
endeavored to bring the young couple closer together, to 
create a greater intimacy in their daily relations. His 
efforts were not without success, as will soon appear. 

The eve of his departure, fixed for the last day of 
May, Joseph handed his sister some written instructions, 
a sort of moral guide for the conduct of her life. These 
seem to have made a momentary impression on the 
frivolous mind of Marie-Antoinette, only too soon to 
be effaced. For a few weeks her life was more serious, 
but at the end of two months everything was going as 
before, and if anything even worse. Notably, her passion 
for gambling had increased. In the course of the fol- 
lowing year she lost no less than seventy-five hundred 

The only positive result of the Emperor's visit was 
the " rapprochement conjugal " between the royal pair. 
A few months after his departure, Louis wrote him 
confidentially, " I hope that next year will not pass with- 
out having given you a nephew or a niece." These hopes 
were not disaopointed. On the 20 December 1778, was 
born at Versailles a daughter, the future Madame Royale. 

Motherhood brought but little change in Marie- 
Antoinette, although her life was somewhat quieter and 
less dissipated than before. She no longer went to the 
public balls or played for such high stakes, and her 



toilettes were more simple. She was also less intimate 
with the Comte d'Artois. 

It is just for us to give Marie- Antoinette credit for 
her improvement, but unfortunately her contemporaries 
could not do so. Her reputation was made: nothing now 
could change it. Even her maternity, which had produced 
such happy effects, was regarded by the public generally 
as a proof of her immorality j and when, according to 
custom, she traversed Paris to render public thanks to 
God at the ancient cathedral of Notre-Dame, she was 
greeted with a reception so icy, and in places even so 
hostile, that she could not help shedding tears. The 
" Era of Follies " was over, she was soon to enter on 
that of sadness. 





Madame Dillon — Princesse de Lamballe — Comtesse de PoHgnac — 
Princesse de Gucmcne — Madame de Polignac, Gouvernante — 
The Petit-Trianon — The Queen's Illness — Her Strange At- 
tendants — The Affair of the Necklace — The Queen's Admirers 

— Comte de Fersen — His First Meeting with the Queen — His 
Residence in London — Return to Paris — Love for the Queen 

— Absence in America — Second Return to France — Liaison 
with Marie-Antoinette — Their Correspondence 

THE injury done to the reputation of Marie- 
Antoinette by her excessive love of pleasure and 
high play was to be greatly increased by her un- 
fortunate choice of friends — the society with which she 
surrounded herself. Her craving for friendship was 
natural, and in itself blameless, but she was not happy 
in the persons she selected. The members of the royal 
family and nearly all of the Court party were hostile to 
her; she was therefore forced to seek her friends outside. 
From the time of her arrival at Versailles to the 
beginning of her intimacy with the Comtesse de Polignac, 
these friendships of Marie-Antoinette were very super- 
ficial and of very short duration. Born of the caprice of 
the moment, they were soon affairs of the past. Such 
was the Queen's fancy for Madame Dillon, one of her 
" dames du palais." Madame Dillon was very beautiful, 
and the angelic sweetness of her character caused her 
to be loved by everybody. She was tall and slender, 
with an attractive face, and a voice which, in the words 
of Besenval, "expressed the softness of her soul." 
Unfortunately she was cursed with an ambitious, intrigu- 
ing mother, Madame de Rothe, who endeavored to 



take advantage of the credit of her daughter to obtain 
favors for her family. This caused a temporary coldness 
between the Queen and her friend, but there, was a 
return later to the former intimacy, which was finally 
broken by the premature death of Madame Dillon in 
all the bloom of her youth. She was the mother of the 
future Marquise de La Tour du Pin, the author of the 
" Recollections of the Revolution and the Empire." 

Of a somewhat different character was the intimacy 
of the Queen with the Princesse de Lamballe, which, 
if not the most tender, nor the most confidential, was at 
least the longest in the life of Marie-Antoinette. She 
was about six years older than the Queen, the daughter 
of the Prince de Savoie-Carignan, and the widow of the 
degenerate Prince de Lamballe, who had died as the 
result of his life of dissipation, after a short year of 
matrimony. If she was unhappy in her marriage, it was 
her good fortune to have for a father-in-law the Due 
de Penthievre, the brightest and best example of the 
old nobility of France. 

The Due de Penthievre was the only child of the 
Comte de Toulouse, the legitimatized son of Louis the 
Fourteenth and Madame de Montespan. The death of 
his father in 1737 put him in possession, at the age of 
twelve, of the great charges of that prince, those of 
Admiral of France, of Grand VeneuVy and of Governor 
of Bretagne. In 1742, he made his first campaign; was 
named lieutenant-general the following yea:r; and in 
1745 distinguished himself at the battle of Fontenoy. 
The deaths of his two cousins, and of his mother, made 
him one of the richest princes of France, uniting in his 
person the fortunes of the two illegitimate branches of 
Louis the Fourteenth. Besides his son, Lamballe, he 
had a daughter, Marie, who married in 1769 the Due 
de Chartres (figalite),. but the union was not a happy 

The Princesse lived in the mansion of the Due at 
Versailles on the footing of an adopted daughter, and 
when her period of mourning was over she reappeared 



at Court. Her charm at that time still lives for us in 
HickePs portrait, and attracts us with its delicate loveli- 
ness. Without being regularly beautiful, or perfectly 
formed, she was grace itself, with an elegant and supple 
figure. Her features were fine, her blue eyes were 
frank and innocent, her complexion dazzling, and her 
golden hair has been compared to the tresses which 
crown the heads of Raphael's Madonnas. She has been 
described as a " model of all the Virtues," and in her 
pictures she certainly personifies youth, candor and 
innocence. What she lacked in intellect, she made up 
for by her gaiety, her kindness and her sympathy. She 
was a good listener and readily absorbed the ideas of 
others. Fond of life and society, of balls and fetes, she 
was born to please Marie-Antoinette. 

They met for the first time during the Carnival of 
1 77 1 at a ball given in honor of the Dauphine, were 
at once attracted to each other, and became inseparable 
friends. The Princesse was soon the chosen companion 
of Marie-Antoinette in all her promenades and her 
parties, both by night and day. During the period of 
mourning after the death of the King, the Princesse 
was the only person outside of the royal family who 
was received by the young sovereigns. At this time the 
two young girls were absolutely inseparable. 

It was then that the project was formed of reviving 
for Madame de Lamballe the extravagant post of 
Superintendent of the Household — a plan carried into 
effect the following year. This position, originally 
created by Mazarin for his niece, Olympe Mancini, had 
been abolished by Fleury during the last reign, as it 
was not only very costly, but also a subject of dissension 
among the high dignitaries of the Court. Turgot, who 
was finding extreme difliculty in restoring order to the 
finances, was strongly opposed to the plan, but the Queen 
was determined, and finally carried her point. The salary, 
which formerly had been 45,000 livres, was increased 
to 150,000, and the public grumbled when the news be- 
came official two months later. 



At the very moment that the Princesse de Lamballe 
seemed at the height of her favor with the Queen, her 
influence began to decline. There were numerous reasons 
for this. Both the Comte de Provence and Madame de 
Genlis state that it was due to her lack of intelligence. 
Mercy accuses her of awkward blunders in her new 
position, which made the life of the Court miserable 
and caused general discontent. Although a charming 
companion for parties of pleasure, she did not have the 
savoir faire to fill successfully a very difiicult post. The 
real reason, however, for her loss of favor seems to have 
been the growing attachment of the Queen for her 
new affinity, the Comtesse de Polignac. She had not 
room in her heart for two great aflFections of the same 

The Princesse, nevertheless, did not abandon the field 
without a fight, and for several months the Court was 
divided into two hostile camps. But the contest was too 
unequal to last long. By the following spring, Madame 
de Polignac had gained the victory, and the salon of the 
Princesse was practically deserted. 

The new friend of the Queen, Yolande de Polastron, 
had married Comte Jules de Polignac, a member of an 
impoverished but noble family, which counted among its 
representatives a celebrated cardinal who had been a 
faithful servant of the royal family. The young couple 
were so poor that they passed most of the year on a small 
estate in the country, only coming for a few months to 
Versailles, where they occupied a modest apartment. 
They rarely went to the Court until Comtesse Diane de 
Polignac, the sister of Jules, was appointed a lady of the 
household of the Comtesse d'Artois, and took up her 
residence at the Chateau. The Queen first noticed 
Madame de Polignac at one of the summer balls in June 
177^, and was at once attracted to her. 

The Comtesse, of whom there is a pleasing portrait 
by Madame Vigee-Lebrun, was a charming woman. 
Neither her form nor her features were perfect, but she 
combined intelligent expression with infinite gentleness: 



never did any demeanor reveal more modesty, reserve 
and propriety. 

Madame Campan says that she was of medium sizej 
her complexion very fair, her hair dark brown, her teeth 
of dazzling whiteness, her smile enchanting, and her 
whole person beaming with grace. She always dressed 
very simply, and rarely wore any jewels. Her sincere 
attachment to the Queen, as much as her love of sim- 
plicity, led her to avoid everything which might give the 
impression that she was a costly favorite. She was entirely 
free from jealousy, and kept on good terms with the 
persons who shared the Queen's affections. It was a long 
time before she maintained any great state at Court. 
The Queen never made her any valuable presents, but 
she assigned her a fine suite of apartments at the top of 
the Marble Staircase. 

Although Madame de Polignac possessed neither wit, 
judgment nor character, to justify the dominion she 
gained over the Queen, she was soon the " depository of 
all the thoughts " of Marie-Antoinette. This intimacy, 
which lasted for more than fifteen years, had a most 
baneful effect upon the Queen's future. 

In the contest for the Queen's favor, the Princesse de 
Tamballe had the support of Artois, the Due de Chartres, 
and of all the Palais-Royal party. The chief partisans 
of the Comtesse were Vaudreuil, Adhemar and Besenval. 

The Comte de Vaudreuil was still young, with a 
charming face and a fine mind. With all that, he had a 
very despotic character, and absolutely dominated 
Madame de Polignac, who trembled at his slightest word. 
Consumed with ambition, he was indefatigable in de- 
manding positions and favors for himself and his friends. 
To the great scandal of the Court, he received at the 
same time a pension of 30,000 livres from the royal 
Treasury, an estate of equal value from the Comte 
d'Artois, and a lodging in the Chateau of Versailles below 
the apartment occupied by Madame de Polignac. 

Comte d'Adhemar was sufficiently adroit to reach the 
same end by quieter methods. For years he had vegetated 



in an obscure provincial city, occupied in genealogical re- 
searches, from which resulted the title he bore. A mar- 
riage with a rich widow, his handsome face and courtly 
manners, joined to the friendship of Vaudreuil, accom- 
plished the rest. He claimed that he could gain any end 
he desired by means of female influence, and proved his 
assertion by securing the position of ambassador to Lon- 
don through the influence of Madame de Polignac and 
the Queen, against the opposition of the Ministry and 
the wishes of the King, who finally yielded. 

Of that curious personage, Baron de Besenval, mention 
will be made later. This brilliant society met at the 
house of the Princesse de Guemene. While these gather- 
ings were supposed to be only social events, those present 
did not hesitate to discuss affairs of State, and to give 
the Queen interested advice — in short, to exploit her. 
This Polignac clique was harmful not only to Marie- 
Antoinette, but also to the Monarchy. 

At first the Comtesse asked no gifts from the Queen, 
but soon the golden shower began. In a few years the 
Polignac family had a total income of half a million 
livres. To give two examples only: the father of Comte 
Jules was made ambassador to Switzerland, in order to 
get him away from Versailles, where his stupidity was 
embarrassing to his children 5 and his sister Diane was 
made lady-in-waiting to Madame filisabeth, although 
the freedom of her life was a subject of scandal. Other 
relatives were, one after another, given offices and rever- 
sions, much to the disgust of the Rohans, the Noailles, 
the Montmorencys, and other great families who felt 
themselves slighted. 

By nature, neither the Queen nor her confidante had 
any penchant for intrigue, and it was most unfortunate 
that they should have fallen under the influences of a 
small group of men without scruples who exploited them 
unmercifully. Not only did the Queen admit the favorite 
to her own intimate circle, but she entered the society of 
the Comtesse and adopted all of her friends. She passed 
the greater part of her days in the rooms of the Comtesse, 



where there reigned a complete absence of etiquette, or, 
in the words of Marie-Antoinette, "confidence and 


Before the Queen assigned to her the large suite which 
she afterwards occupied in the Chateau, the quarters 
of Madame de Polignac were too small to receive so 
many people. Therefore the " Society " met in the apart- 
ment of the Princesse de Rohan-Guemene, the Gouver- 
nante of the royal children, who was a friend both of 
the Queen and of the favorite. This arrangement was 
unfortunate, and the consequences were grave. 

Madame de Guemene was the daughter of the Mare- 
chal de Soubise, and the sister of the Prince de Conde. 
In 1 76 1 she married her cousin, Prince de Rohan- 
Guemene. She was now separated from her husband, 
and the acknowledged mistress of the Due de Coigny. 
In spite of her birth and her rank, she did not bear a 
very good reputation at Versailles. 

The company which she received was very mixed. 
Disgruntled politicians and women of doubtful reputa- 
tion mingled with the highest and best of the old no- 
bililty. Play was high, and conversation was loose. 
Several times a week, after the King had retired, about 
eleven o'clock, Marie-Antoinette appeared, and was at 
once surrounded by the friends of the Princesse, who 
did their best to flatter and amuse her. 

In the month of October 1782, the Prince de 
Guemene, who had been one of the most ardent admirers 
of Madame Dillon, announced his failure for the enor- 
mous sum of thirty-three million livres. The scandal 
was great: the Prince was banished from Court, and the 
Princesse was obliged to resign her position and find 
refuge in a country chateau. 

To the intense surprise and indi,8:nation of nearly the 
entire Court, the vacant post was filled by the appoint- 
ment of Madame de Polignac. Besenval first suggested 
the idea to the Queen, who, without much trouble, 
obtained the King's consent. No choice could have been 
more deplorable. Until now the Comtesse had been 



simply the intimate friend of the Queen, without any 
official position. Now she was given a charge which had 
always been reserved for the highest nobility of France. 
Not only were these great families offended, but the 
people murmured at seeing the Dauphin, the heir to the 
throne, confided to the charge of one who was generally 
regarded as the evil genius of the Queen. The unpopu- 
larity of the favorite increased that of the Queen, and 
hurried the sovereign towards the abyss. 

In 1779, Marie-Antoinette had an attack of the 
measles, and then for the first time took up her abode 
at the Petit-Trianon, which the King had presented to her 
four years before. This rural retreat owed its origin to 
a whim of Louis the Fifteenth. The fancy of Madame 
de Pompadour converted it into a farm, with cows and 
chickens and a kitchen-garden. Here the King and his 
mistress, with a select party of friends of both sexes, 
played at pastoral life, as a change from the tiresome 
etiquette of Versailles. 

The chateau, which had been planned for the Pompa- 
dour, was not built until the advent of Madame du 
Barry. It was intended to be a miniature of the Grand- 
Trianon, as that palace had been modelled after Ver- 
sailles. The gift of this fairy palace was very welcome 
to Marie-Antoinette, who accepted it with the one odd 
condition that the King was never to come there except 
upon her express invitation. 

The place became Marie-Antoinette's pet plaything. 
Her mania for an Anglo-Chinese garden was only the 
beginning of a series of costly experiments, which soon 
brought her in conflict with Turgot on the question of 
expense, and his fall was largely due to her hostility. At 
the Trianon only the personal liveries of the Queen 
were to be seen, and all orders and notices were issued 
in her name. All etiquette was banished, and the life at 
the chateau was one continual round of dancing, gambling 
and dissipation of every kind. 

But the maddest of all the Queen's wild escapades 



was during this attack of measles, when it was thought 
best that she should leave Versailles and go to Trianon, 
so as not to expose the King. What followed would seem 
incredible if we did not have it on the best of authority. 
She chose for the attendants in her sick-chamber, not as 
might be expected four of her court ladies, but four 
gentlemen! These strange attendants were the Due de 
Coigny, the Due de Guines, Comte Esterhazy and Baron 
de Besenval — all four men of the worst possible repu- 

The Due de Coigny was about forty years of age. He 
was not particularly good-looking, nor very intelligent, 
but was generally popular on account of his good-nature 
and his polished manners. He was cordially detested by 
Mercy because of his influence over the Queen, and by 
Madame de Polignac for the same reason. 

Guines, who was corrupt and unscrupulous, dominated 
by his assurance the Polignac salon and the society of the 
Queen. He had been ambassador to the Court of Saint 
James's, and aspired to take the place of Maurepas and 
govern the kingdom. But he carried his dominating atti- 
tude too far, and lost his credit with the Queen. He 
had to be content with a duche a hrevety and the dubious 
glory of having contributed powerfully to the fall of 

Esterhazy was a young Hungarian soldier who stood 
high in the graces of Marie-Antoinette, who delighted 
to pay his debts. He seems to have been rather common- 
place, and comparatively harmless. 

The most amazing personage of the quartet was the 
Baron de Besenval. He was a Swiss, nearly sixty years 
of age, white-haired, gallant, courtly, cynical, senti- 
mental, disinterested for himself, but an indefatigable 
seeker of favors for others. He had gained a great 
influence over the Queen, and was said to use it for the 
perversion of her mind. He was the most dangerous of 
the band. 

There is nothing in the history of the Old Regime 
more curious than the story of this royal illness, during 



which the Queen was attended in her bedchamber by 
four men remarkable alike for their profligacy and the 
favors they had received at her hands. What opinion can 
one form of a young woman of twenty-four who was 
nursed during her illness by four courtiers, all of whom 
were considered by the public to be her lovers? They had 
arranged to take turns in watching over the patient 
during the entire twenty-four hours, and it was due only 
to the intervention of Mercy that this plan was modified 
so that they left her room at eleven at night and returned 
at seven in the morning. 

In 1785 occurred the celebrated " Affair of the Neck- 
lace," known in France as the " Collier de la Reine." 
The principal characters in this comedy, which came so 
near to being a tragedy for the French Monarchy, were: 

Boehmer The Court Jeweller 

Cardinal de Rohan Grand-Almoner of France 

Comte Cagliostro An Italian Charlatan 

Comtesse de la Motte A Clever Adventuress 

Baronne d'Oliva A Street- Walker 

Marie-Antoinette Queen of France 

The person who heads the cast was the senior member 
of the great house of Boehmer and Bassenge, the leading 
diamond merchants of Paris. 

The Cardinal-Prince de Rohan, Bishop of Strasbourg, 
and Grand-Almoner of France, was a type of all that was 
worst in the clergy. As ambassador at Vienna, when 
Marie-Antoinette was the Dauphine, he had greatly 
displeased the Empress by his profligacy, his mad ex- 
travagance, his tactlessness and foolishness. Marie- 
Antoinette shared her mother's antipathy for him, and 
in spite of all his attempts the Cardinal had never suc- 
ceeded in gaining access to her. He was now over fifty, 
with a high bald forehead, white hair, a red complexion, 
and a tall, stately presence. This descendant of a chival- 
rous house, this prince of a great Church, was merely a 
profoundly depraved, lustful voluptuary. 



The so-called " Comte Cagliostro," whose real name 
was Joseph Balsamo, was an Italian imposter. As a 
youth he picked up some knowledge of chemistry and 
medicine J and later, in Germany, he was a pupil of 
Mesmer, the great exponent of Animal Magnetism, to 
which he has given his name. After extensive travels 
over Europe he settled about 1780 at Paris where he 
posed as a physician, philosopher and alchemist, and did 
a lively business in his "elixir of immortal youth." 

Madame de la Motte claimed to be descended in a 
direct line from the House of Valois through one of the 
amours of Henri Deux. For this august claim she re- 
ceived a small pension from the State. She was married 
to a rascal known as the Comte de la Motte. She pro- 
fessed to be a confidante of the Queen, and made a 
great impression on Rohan. She was the author and the 
stage-manager of the play. 

The so-called " Baronne d'Oliva " was a street-walker 
by the name of Marie-Nicole Leguay, whom the Motte 
woman picked up at the Palais-Royal and engaged for 
the cast on account of her resemblance to the Queen. 

The Comtesse was aware that Boehmer had put all 
his capital into a single piece of jewelry worth more 
than a million and a half of livres: a necklace of incom- 
parable diamonds which only a princess could buy. 
She also knew, like every one else, that Marie-Antoi- 
nette had a passion for gems, and could never have too 

Out of such seemingly incongruous elements, Madame 
de la Motte wove the plot of a play as romantic as any 
ever written by Dumas or Sardou. She it was who con- 
ceived the scene in the grove. One evening the Cardinal 
was conducted to Versailles, where in the twilight he 
saw in the Gardens a woman who had the form and 
bearing of the Queen. It was Oliva of the Palais-Royal. 
She dropped a rose, and murmured some words which 
led Rohan to think that the Queen had pardoned him. 

After this, the Motte woman told the Cardinal that 
Marie-Antoinette wanted to buy the necklace and had 




chosen him to negotiate the affair secretly. Then she 
forged instructions for the purchase, signing the orders, 
"Marie-Antoinette de France^^ although the Queen 
never signed her name in that wayj but Rohan was too 
foolish to note the mistake. 

Rohan bought the necklace on credit and gave it to 
an emissary of the Comtesse whom he supposed to be 
a servant of the Queen. Madame de la Motte kept the 
collier, and sold the stones separately for an enormous 
sum. Marie-Antoinette was ignorant of the whole mat- 
ter until six months later, the first of August, when 
Boehmer, who was in danger of failure, began to press 
the Queen for payment of his claims. She was naturally 
very angry, and in her desire for revenge did not stop 
to reason. 

The scene of the last act of the drama was the 
Chateau of Versailles, and the time the 15 August, the 
solemn festival of the Assumption. The Cardinal de 
Rohan, as Grand-Almoner of France, was there ready 
to say Mass, in a cassock of watered scarlet silk, when 
he was summoned to the presence of the King. 

"What have you done with the diamonds you pur- 
chased of Boehmer? " demanded the King. 

" I thought they had been delivered to the Queen." 

" Who commissioned you? " 

" The Comtesse de la Motte, who handed me a letter 
from the Queen." 

" How, sir," interrupted the Queen, " could you 
believe that I should select youy to whom I have not 
spoken for eight years, to negotiate anything for me, and 
especially through the mediation of such a woman? " 

" I see plainly," said the Cardinal, " that I have been 
duped J I will pay for the necklace. My desire to be of 
service to Your Majesty blinded me: I suspected no 
trick in the affair, and I am sorry for it." 

The anxious crowd, waiting in the CEil-de-Bceuf, 
could not understand why the procession for the Chapel 
did not start. Suddenly the door of the inner room was 
opened, and Rohan appeared, pale and trembling, fol- 



lowed by Breteuil, who cried to the captain of the 
Guard, "Arrest Monsieur le Cardinal! " 

The next day the Grand-Almoner was in the Bas- 
tille. At his trial before the Parlement, Rohan was 
acquitted, on the ground that he had been the dupe of 
the Comtesse de la Motte, who alone was condemned. 
When she underwent the degrading punishment of being 
publicly branded, popular sympathy was on her side and 
against Marie-Antoinette. Seeing that the Cardinal was 
innocent, the mass of the people thought the Queen 
guilty. As Goethe says, Marie-Antoinette then lost in 
the minds of the public that moral support which made 
her person inviolable. 

The question has often been raised, whether a young 
and charming woman like Marie-Antoinette, who cer- 
tainly did not love her husband, and who was constantly 
surrounded by temptation, was always able to keep her 
many declared lovers within the bounds of platonic 
friend-ship. The subject is a delicate one to treat, and a 
very difficult one to settle. In the case of most of the 
names which have been mentioned in this connection there 
is absolutely no proof 3 in other cases the evidence is so 
slight that it will not bear examination. The only real 
romance in the life of Marie-Antoinette seems to have 
been her love for the Comte de Fersen. Interesting docu- 
ments, discovered recently, have thrown much light upon 
this simple and touching history. 

Jean de Fersen belonged to an old and distinguished 
Swedish family. He was the son of a field-marshal, and 
was born on the fourth of September 1755, just two 
months before Marie-Antoinette. He first met the Dau- 
phine at a ball given at Versailles in January 1774 when 
they were both nineteen years of age. At this time he 
was tall and well-formed, with fine, regular features. 
Jiis eyes were blue, and his hair blond. In the words 
of Madame de Boigne, " II etait beau comme un ange! " 
For his age, he was very calm and quiet, and appeared 
to have more judgment than animation. He was so 




different from the frivolous young fops of the Court of 
Versailles, that he first attracted the attention of Marie- 
Antoinette, then interested her, and ended by winning 
her completely. 

In his journal Fersen thus tells the story of this first 
meeting: " I went to the ball of Madame la Dauphinej 
the ball began as usual at five o'clock and ended at 
nine-thirty. I returned immediately to Paris." The last 
of the same month he saw her again at the Opera ball. 
He writes: " Madame la Dauphine talked with me for 
a long time without my recognizing her. Finally, when 
she made herself known, everybody paid her a great 
deal of attention, and she retired to her loge. At three 
o'clock, I left the ball." During the course of the fol- 
lowing weeks, the Dauphine and the " beau Suedois," 
as he was called at Versailles, met very frequently. 

After the death of the King, on the lO May 1774, 
Fersen went to London to live and did not return to 
France until four years later. During his residence in 
England there was a project of his marriage with a 
London heiress, but she finally refused him, much to his 
disappointment. On his return he at once presented him- 
self at Court, where he was warmly greeted by the 
Queen, as an old acquaintance. This was the beginning 
of the great romance in the life of Marie-Antoinette. 

At this time he wrote his father that the Queen was 
the most beautiful and amiable princess in the world. 
Two months later he wrote that he saw her frequently 
and that she always received him with kindness. One 
day she expressed the wish to see him in his Swedish 
uniform, which was very becoming, and he wrote that 
he was going, thus attired, not to the Court, but to call 
on the Queen personally. It was not long before he 
was present at all the reunions of the " Society," and 
his unconcealed admiration for the Queen was received 
by her with a smiling indulgence. 

The exact state of affairs at this time is clearly re- 
vealed in a confidential letter from Comte de Creutz 
to the King of Sweden, under date of April 1779: " I 

[45 J 


must confide to Your Majesty that the young Comte de 
Fersen has been so well received by the Queen that this 
has disgruntled many persons. I admit that I cannot 
help believing that she has been much taken with him; 
I have seen too many sure signs of this fact to doubt it. 
Under the circumstances the young Comte has con- 
ducted himself with modesty and reserve, and has decided 
to go to America. In leaving, he avoids all dangers j but, 
to overcome this seduction evidently calls for a firmness 
remarkable in one of his age." 

Fersen had indeed decided to flee temptation and join 
the expeditionary force of Rochambeau which was sailing 
for America. The parting was very sad. Creutz writes 
that during the final days the Queen could not take her 
eyes away from Fersen, and that they filled with tears 
every time she looked at him. All the other favorites 
were delighted at his departure. The Duchesse de Fitz- 
James said maliciously, " Is it possible. Monsieur, that 
you can thus abandon your conquest? " 

The young Swede did not return to France until three 
years later, after peace was concluded. As a recompense 
for his services in America he was anxious to obtain a 
French regiment. He asked his sister to secure his 
father's consent j the King of Sweden wrote a pressing 
letter to Louis the Sixteenth, and Marie- Antoinette 
warmly seconded the request. With such endorsements 
the favor was easily accorded, and Fersen was appointed 
colonel of the regiment of Royal-Suedois. 

When he returned to Paris in 1783, he seemed much 
older; his face showed the traces of the three years of 
danger and suffering through which he had passed, and 
he had lost much of his former good looks. But this 
only made him the more interesting, and especially so 
in the eyes of Marie-Antoinette. From this moment she 
seems to have abandoned herself without reserve to the 
love which filled her heart. She frequently received him 
in her apartment, and had long conversations with him 
tete-a-tete. All that was in her power to give, she freely 
gave to him. It was the happiest period of their lives. 



" He only breathers for her," writes a contemporary, 
" and all the habits of his life are so arranged as to 
compromise her as little as possible." 

It is certain that Fersen and the Queen exchanged 
many letters. A large part of this correspondence has 
been published, but most of the letters belong to the 
period of the Revolution and refer only to public mat- 
ters j besides, many passages are omitted. One private 
letter only, written probably in 1791, has survived. In 
this Marie-Antoinette says: "I wish to tell you that I 
love you, and that I have time for nothing else. Let me 
know to whom I should address the letters that I am 
able to write you, for I can no longer live without that. 
Adieu, the best loved and the most loving of men. I 
embrace you with all my heart." 

In 1787, Fersen was recalled to his native land by 
the war between Sweden and Russia. He returned to 
France only occasionally, and, after the beginning of the 
Revolution, on secret missions. His role during this 
terrible period will be referred to later in the proper 
time and place. Suffice it to say here that he was present 
at Versailles during the October days, and that it was 
he who, two years later, arranged the flight to Varennes. 





The Advent of Louis the Sixteenth — Maurepas, First Minister — 
Vergennes, Foreign Affairs — Turgot, Finance — His Career — 
His Program — The Coronation — The "Man with the Iron 
Mask" — The Queen's Meddling — Public Indignation — Fall 
of Turgot — Saint-Germain, War Minister — Necker, Controller 
— The American War — French Triumphs — Necker Resigns — 
Attitude of the Queen — Death of Maurepas — Beaumarchais* 
Play — Calonne, Controller — His Prodigality — Assembly of 
the Notables — Brienney Controller — Conflict with the Paris 
Parlement — Discredit of the Queen — Necker Recalled. 

THE advent of Louis the Sixteenth was welcomed 
with joy throughout France. Although he had 
thus far taken no part in public aflFairs, the young 
monarch was known to be honest, and the public be- 
lieved that he would investigate the finances, reform 
abuses, and reduce the burden of taxation. 

His first acts confirmed this favorable impression. He 
sent two hundred thousand livres to the poor of Pans, 
and renounced the Joyeux Avenementy a grant given 
the king at his accession, which under Louis the Fifteenth 
had cost twentv million francs. The Queen also refused 
to accept the Dmh de Cemture^ which was a tax levied 
in Paris e^^ery third ye^r on wine, coal, and other com- 
modities. The<;e p-ifts. -from long usage, had become sub- 
jects of n^escrin^iTrp n^ht. 

The Kino^ and 0"'»'»n fooV vv) fh^r ^-^qid^nce pt La 
Muette, and walked daily in the Bris de Bouloo-ne, where 
thev were cheered as soon as they we»-e seen. The Dublic 
enthusiasm was loyal and sincere, and Louis tried hard 
to deserve it. This idea guided him in the choice of his 



ministers. His first appointment, however, was not a 
happy one: Maurepas returned to power. 

Comte de Maurepas, who was born in the first year 
of the century, had occupied the position of Secretary of 
the King's Household at the age of seventeen. In 1749 
he was disgraced for having written some insolent verses 
about the Pompadour. Perhaps this fact recommended 
him to Louis, who thought that he had found an honest 
man. In reality he had made a selection destined to be 
disastrous to the State. Maurepas returned from exile, 
and was received at Choisy on the 13 May. His title was 
to be Minister of State, without a portfolio. 

It was feared that the Due d'Aiguillon would remain 
in power, but the Queen desired his fall, and he was 
compelled to resign on the first of June. He was replaced 
in the Foreign Ofiice by the Comte de Vergennes, who 
had distinguished himself in the embassy at Constanti- 
nople, and was then at Stockholm. He was full of zeal, 
but was thought to be prudent and safe, and the appoint- 
ment was generally approved. A most favorable impres- 
sion was made by the selection of Turgot for Controller- 
General of the Finances. 

The great Turgot, who came of an excellent family 
of Normandie, was born in Paris on the 10 May 1727. 
He was educated at the College Louis-le-Grand. When 
he was only sixteen he attended the theological lectures 
at the Sorbonne, and passed his examinations with con- 
spicuous ability. As the Abbe de Laulne, a name taken 
from a paternal estate, he rose from success to success. 
He was urged by his friends to enter the Church, but 
at the age of twenty-three he left the Sorbonne, and 
the last thirty years of his life were devoted to public 
affairs. During; this period he occupied many important 
positions, and at the same time was prominent in Parisian 
society. He was deeply in love with the beautiful 
Mademoiselle de Liq-neville and it has always been a 
mystery why he did not marrv her. She afterwards 
became the wife of the wise Helvetius, and she and 
Turgot remained friends all their lives. 



In August 1 76 1, Turgot was appointed Intendant of 
Limoges, and for the next thirteen years he devoted 
himself to the administration of one of the poorest 
provinces of France. At that time France was divided 
into forty military divisions, called Provinces, under the 
command of a governor, and thirty-five administrative 
units called " generalites," under the direction of 
an intendant. The latter official had charge of the 
police and the militia, and in a general way looked 
after the civil administration, much like the present 

In this position Turgot was a great success: never 
before had such an intendant been known. He won the 
love of the peasantry by protecting them against the 
oppression of the nobility. He endeavored to improve 
taxation and to secure the free circulation of grain. At 
the end of the thirteen years he had made his mark on 
public opinion, and was generally regarded in France 
as the champion of reform. Such was the man whom the 
King now selected for the position of cabinet minister. 

Turgot needed all of his rare ability and courage as 
he faced his nqw task. The continuance of the large 
annual deficits could mean nothing less than ultimate 
bankruptcy of the State. He announced his program to 
the King in the words: " No bankruptcy, no increase of 
taxation, no more borrowing." He hoped to reform the 
finances by effecting strict economies in expenditures; 
and at the same time to increase the receipts from taxes 
by developing agriculture, industry and commerce, 
through a new regime of liberty from oppressive restric- 

Turgot had the moral energy which Louis lacked, but 
he had no knowledge of men, and he took into account 
neither their passions nor their virtues. It has been said 
that " he formed all his judgments by himself, and public 
opinion had no influence over him." He sincerely wished 
to do good, but he was determined to do it only in his 
own way. 

Pursuant to his policy of economy Turgot tried to make 
some changes in the costly coronation ceremony which was 



to be celebrated at Reims on the ii June 1775. He sug- 
gested that the coronation should take place at Paris, but 
it was decided to follow the usual custom. All the love 
which the people at that time felt for the King was shown 
at this ceremony, and he was greeted with cheers even 
in the interior of the cathedral. 

As soon as the King was finally settled at Versailles, 
he occupied himself with examining and arranging his 
grandfather's papers. He had promised Marie-Antoinette 
to communicate to her all that he might discover relative 
to the history of the " Man with the Iron Mask," the 
celebrated state prisoner who always wore a mask of black 
velvet, and who died in the Bastille in November 1703. 
The story of this mysterious personage has always excited 
a romantic curiosity in the minds of students of history. 
Voltaire treated the matter historically, but did nothing 
to unravel the mystery. There have been first and last 
at least a dozen explanations as to the identity of the 
prisoner, and over seventy books have been written on 
the subject. The most plausible and most interesting story 
is the one given in a celebrated romance of Dumas, that 
the prisoner was a twin brother of Louis the Fourteenth. 
The papers of the late King apparently threw no light 
on the question, which even to the present day remains 
one of the mysteries of history. 

The biographers of Marie- Antoinette have always 
maintained that the Queen had a horror of politics and 
that she never interfered in public aflFairs except when 
constrained by the solicitations of her friends. " Like 
many legends," says Segur, " this one contains elements 
of truth and error." It is certain that Marie-Antoinette 
in the beginning was too frivolous to. be deeply interested 
in affairs of State, and it is equally certain that she was 
constantly importuned to do so by the " Society " which 
surrounded her. But when she had on two or three occa- 
sions carried her point; when she had overturned a min- 



ister, or secured a place for a friend, she developed a taste 
for this new game. But she was never able to follow any 
political line, to look above personalities and consider 
the true interests of the country and the Monarchy. 
With her, ideas were always subordinated to prejudices, 
and policy to sentiment. Habituated to judge events as 
well as persons by their small sides, she carried this ten- 
dency into the management of public affairs. 

A dangerous result of her course was the public indig- 
nation which it provoked. " The most gallant people in 
the world," remarks the Comte de Provence, " were 
never able to endure being governed by a woman.*^' 
From the time of the regency of Anne of Austria to the 
days of the Second Empire, the French nation has always 
resented female influence in affairs of State. All of the 
vices of Louis the Fifteenth had not made his name so 
unpopular as his yielding the helm to the notorious 

During the first seven years of the reign, the princi- 
pal obstacle to the unlimited power of the Queen was 
Maurepas, the first minister, the King's chosen " mentor." 
All of the address, all of the concessions of the aged 
minister could not overcome her antipathy to him. 

The first victory gained by the Queen was in obtaining 
the dismissal of Turgot in May 1776. She never had 
liked the great Controller-General, from whom France 
exp>ected so much. His person was not agreeable to her, 
and his manners were objectionable. His efforts at econ- 
omy aroused her resentment. He also incurred the enmity 
of the " Society " by opposing a pension which Marie- 
Antoinette had persuaded the King to grant to an aunt 
of Madame de Polignac. 

The Polignac band vowed vengeance, and laid its plans 
carefully to secure the dismissal of the hated minister. 
At the suggestion of Besenval it was decided to bring 
about a reconciliation between the Queen and Maurepas, 
and secure the support of the first minister, who was 
secretly jealous of the Controller-General. Besenval 
undertook the task of winning over Maurepas j Madame 



de Polignac took charge of the Queen, and they were 
both successful. 

The plot having been formed, it remained to find a 
good occasion to put it into execution. This was furnished 
by the recall of Comte de Guines from London where 
he had been ambassador to the Court of St. James's. 
On the eve of the war with Great Britain the Comte had 
quarrelled with the Spanish ambassador and thus en- 
dangered the " family pact," and the Spanish alliance. 
Upon the advice of Vergennes, warmly seconded by Tur- 
got, Guines was ordered home. 

The Polignac clan was at once up in arms. They em- 
ployed all possible means to gain their end, even going 
so far as to forge letters, in imitation of the writing of 
Turgot, which were disrespectful to the King and harm- 
ful to Marie-Antoinette. The Queen herself was a dupe, 
and her rage knew no bounds. She tormented Louis night 
and day, until the poor weak monarch yielded to the 
storm, and agreed not only to dismiss the great minister, 
who might perhaps have saved his crown, but also to 
give Guines reparation in the form of a ducal title. 
The? Queen even went so far as to demand that Turgot 
be sent to the Bastille, and it was only with great difficulty 
that she was dissuaded from this act of folly. 

Turgot received an order from the King to return his 
portfolio and to leave Versailles at once, without the 
privilege of an interview or any opportunity for an ex- 
planation. " The dismissal of Turgot," says Segur, " was, 
in a political sense, the first great error of the Queen: 
no other mistake she made was more fatal to the country, 
or should, in the eyes of history, weigh more heavily upon 
the memory of Marie-Antoinette." 

Turgot left the ministry with dignity. In a letter to 
the King he said: " My greatest hope is that you may 
come to know that I am wrong and that I have warned 
you of chimerical dangers. I trust that time may not 
justify me." 

After the death of Comte de Muy, in October 1775, 
Saint-Germain was put at the head of the War Office. 



During the short two years that he held this position he 
introduced many reforms in the army. He suppressed a 
part of the King's military household, and added 40,000 
men to the army without increased cost to the Treasury. 
He reformed the £cole Militaire at Paris, which a few 
years later was to turn out the greatest soldier of modern 
times. To him France was largely indebted for her effi- 
cient army at the beginning of the Revolutionary wars. 
But he had the usual fate of reformers under the Old 
Regime, and was obliged to retire in September 1777. 

Clugny, who became Controller-General after the 
fall of Turgot, died a few months later, and was suc- 
ceeded by Necker, one of the greatest personalities of the 

Jacques Necker, who was born at Geneva in 1732, was 
still comparatively a young man. He had made a large 
fortune as managing partner in Paris of the great bank- 
ing house of Thelusson and Necker. In 1764 he had 
married Suzanne Curchod, the daughter of a Swiss pastor 
at Lausanne, who had at one time been engaged to one 
of her father's pupils, the great historian Edward Gib- 
bon. She was an accomplished and ambitious woman, and 
made Necker withdraw from active business, to enter 

Necker was a striking-looking man, with piercing brown 
eyes, under arched and bushy eyebrow;s. He already 
showed signs of that corpulence which in later years 
was to cause the Court to smile behind his back. 
His efforts at wit were as ponderous as his body. He was 
conceited and vain-glorious, and was always fishing for 
compliments. Yet with all his foibles Necker was a great 
banker^ if a financier could have saved the situation he 
would have done so, but France at that time needed a 
statesman, and that Necker never was. 

Necker took office in June 1777 and remained in 
power for four years. One of his first acts was to float a 
large loan, which was justified by the approaching war 
with Great Britain, and was a great success. On the fourth 
day of July 1776 the American colonies had declared 



their independence of the mother-country. France, which 
was anxious to wipe out the disgrace of the Seven Years' 
War, was won to their cause, and the operations in Amer- 
ica form the one bright page in the annals of Louis the 
Sixteenth. The King was ably represented by Vergennes, 
who conducted the diplomatic negotiations, and by the 
Marquis de La Fayette and a large number of French 
officers who crossed the Atlantic and fought bravely by 
the side of the Americans. 

Franklin was sent to France, and his dignity and affable 
manners won the regard of the King and the Court. In 
February 1778 he secured the signature of a treaty, 
which later became an alliance, between France and the 
United States. 

When Franklin was presented at Court on the 20 
March, the handsome old man made a picturesque appear- 
ance, with his spectacles and bald head. He wore a brown 
coat, and carried a stick in place of a sword. He made an 
excellent impression on the King and the ministers. 

While the war lasted there was a complete renewal of 
confidence in the French armies, and in the King and 
Vergennes. The journeys of the Court were given up, and 
strict economies were enforced. Subscriptions were made 
by private individuals to help meet the heavy expenses 
of the government. Necker was successful in making many 
retrenchments in the budget. 

In February 1779 La Fayette returned from America 
to secure new troops to help the insurgents. He was 
successful in obtaining 4000 men, under the command of 
Rochambeau. At this time new appointments were made 
in the Navy and War departments. The Marquis de Cas- 
tries, father-in-law of the Due de Guines, was made 
Minister of the Marine. Although he owed his position 
to favoritism, he justified the appointment by his able 

The Marquis de Segur became Minister of War, and 
he also distinguished himself by many excellent reforms. 
The chief reproach that can be brought against him was 
his support of caste. He issued rigid orders that no one 



should be eligible to the rank of officer unless he could 
prove his nobility for four generations. 

In the late autumn of 1781 France was cheered by the 
news of a brilliant victory in America. On the 19 Octo- 
ber, 7000 men, forming the flower of the British army, 
under command of Lord Cornwallis, surrendered at 
Yorktown to the allied forces of about 16,000 men, of 
whom 7000 were Frenchmen under Rochambeau. The 
operations were greatly assisted by the blockade of the 
James and York rivers by a French fleet under Comte 
de Grasse, which cut off the British communications. 
This victory virtually ended the Revolutionary struggle. 
Although England would not yet admit her defeat, the 
independence of the United States was assured, and 
French arms and diplomacy had won. 

In the face of these triumphs, the petty cabals which 
secured the overthrow of Necker seem beneath contempt. 
In January, Necker had issued his famous financial state- 
ment {Compte rendu) ^ showing in detail the receipts and 
disbursements of the government. For the first time the 
people knew the exact state of the finances. The report 
showed just how much went annually in pensions to 
courtiers, as free gifts for which they rendered no serv- 
ice whatever, and the Court was indignant that these 
facts should be revealed to the public. There was a gen- 
eral demand for the removal of Necker, and the King 
weakly yielded. 

It must be admitted that this time the Queen was not 
to blame. " Of all the ministers of the King," remarks 
Mercy-Argenteau, " Monsieur Necker is the one of whom 
the Queen has the best opinion." And this approbation 
was not confined to words. In spite of her natural love 
for luxury, Marie- Antoinette had consented with good- 
will to the economies which he asked of her. She even 
resisted the suggestions of the Polignac party, and refused 
for the first time to aid them. When Necker finally de- 
cided to give up the fight and retire from office, the Queen 
tried to turn him from his purpose. Could she have done 
more? In view of the weakness of the King, could she 



alone have defended the minister against the combined 
attack of the Parlement, the royal princes, and all of 
the privileged classes? Mercy seems to think that if she 
had displayed the same tenacity, and used the same means, 
to keep Necker, that she had employed to get rid of 
Turgot, she would have been successful. When Necker 
left she is said to have shed tears. She seems to have been 
the only person at Versailles even faintly to realize what 
this departure meant, and what it was to cost the French 

The year 1781 was to be marked by two other impor- 
tant events. On the 22 October was born the much-de- 
sired Dauphin, who was to pass away eight years later on 
the eve of the Revolution. On the 21 November, Maure- 
pas diedj old and broken in health, he was witty still. 
The " Society " in vain made an assault on the vacant 
place. The King kept silent as to his intentions, and for 
once showed himself firm. He had an able adviser in 
Vergennes, and finally decided not to appoint a new first 

In September 1783 peace was finally signed with Great 
Britain. It was the first treaty in half a century which had 
been advantageous to France. The short period of calm 
which followed was marked by a renewal of social activi- 
ties. It was at this time that Beaumarchais succeeded in 
producing the " Mariage de Figaro." The Court was 
amused by the wit of the play without suspecting the pro- 
found lesson concealed in the story. The success of the 
piece was extraordinary: it had a run of nearly seventy 
nights at the Comedie Frangaise, a rare event in the 
eighteenth century. The King seems to have been nearly 
the only person to foresee the danger. He said that the 
author made a jest of nearly everything which should 
be respected in a government, and that the Bastille would 
have to be destroyed if this play was allowed to continue. 
Prophetic words! 

Marechal de Richelieu at this time described the differ- 
ence between the present reign and the two preceding ones 
by saying that, under the Great King, " no one dared to 

[ 57 ] 


say anything "j under his successor, "they spoke in 
whispers "j under the present King, "they speak out 

After the conclusion of peace the office of Controller- 
General became of first importance. Since the beginning 
of the reign there had been seven changes in the financial 
administration. The finances were in a most dangerous 
state and the new minister should have been chosen with 
the greatest care. The Queen desired the recall of Necker, 
but she was won over by the intrigues of the Polignac 
clique, and after much hesitation the sovereigns were per- 
suaded " to make an appointment which was one day to 
result in the total destruction of their kingdom and their 
own end on the scaffold." These are the exact words of 
one of the Queen's private secretaries, and the story of 
Calonne's ministry shows how right was this faithful 

Calonne, who was born in 1734, was not quite fifty at 
the time he took office. He was rather a fine-looking man, 
with an oval face, high forehead, keen eyes, and a firm 
mouth. In a number of positions which he had held, he 
had shown brilliant but superficial qualities. He began 
his new career by borrowing a hundred million livres by 
loans in the form of lotteries. For three years he cleverly 
concealed his methods, and his success was marvellous. 
At the end of that period the loans amounted to nearly 
five hundred millions, and the annual deficit had reached 
a hundred millions. Never was such prodigality known. 
Rambouillet was bought for the King, and Saint-Cloud 
for the Queen. The debts of the King's brothers were 
paid. The Controller's answer to a request for money was: 
" If it is possible it is done; if it is impossible it shall 
be done." His principles were that "A man who wishes to 
borrow must appear to be rich 5 and to appear to be rich, 
he must dazzle people by spending freely." 

When it was found impossible to float more loans 
Calonne resorted to the expedient of reminting the gold 
coins, which disguised fraud brought in fifty million 
livres. But this was only postponing the evil day. Finally, 



at the end of his resources, he suggested to the King that 
an Assembly of Notables should be summoned and the 
situation placed before it. This idea appealed to the fancy 
of Louis, and the plan was adopted. 

After some delay, on account of the illness of Calonne, 
followed by the death of Vergennes, the Assembly finally 
opened on the 22 February 1787, at the Hotel des Menus 
at Versailles. There were in all one hundred and forty- 
four Notables, including the royal princes, bishops, peers, 
deputies and municipal officials. 

The Controller was full of hope, as he laid before the 
Assembly the proposed reforms, which were modelled on 
those of Turgot and Necker. He stated that his plans 
were known to, and approved by, the King. Whereupon, 
Dillon, Archbishop of Narbonne, exclaimed in angry 
tones : " Do you take us for sheep and imbeciles that you 
call us together simply to obtain our sanction to plans 
which are already settled! " 

The Notables, before voting on any of the reforms, in- 
sisted on knowing the state of the finances and the 
amount of the deficit. Calonne refused to furnish the in- 
formation, but the Assembly held firm. Accusations and 
threats were made against the Controller, and it was evi- 
dent that he was lost. He was exiled to Lorraine, and 
finally retired to England, in April. 

Calonne's successor, Monseigneur de Brienne, Arch- 
bishop of Toulouse, was not destined to be any more 
successful. He owed his appointment to his friend the 
Abbe de Vermond, the Queen's reader. 

The new minister consented to disclose the state of the 
finances, and thus won the good-will of the Assembly. 
The Notables, however, were not disposed to adopt the 
new scheme of taxation, which they left to the " wisdom 
of His Majesty." On the 25 May, the Notables were dis- 
solved, leaving things exactly where they had found 

At this moment, Marie-Antoinette' was really at the 
head of the French Government. It was. she who directed 
and Brienne who executed. The Archbishop exploited the 



power of the Queen without scruples. Not content with 
the title of Controller, he had himself named first minis- 
ter. Upon this, Segur, the Minister of War, resigned, and 
Brienne appointed his own brother, Comte de Lomenie, 
as head of the Army. 

Brienne had not been ten days in charge of the finances 
before his gross incapacity was apparent. The bankers, 
in view of the ignorance of the Minister, refused their 
cooperation, and there was everywhere confusion and dis- 
organization in the public service. 

The Controller also found himself in conflict with the 
powerful Paris Parlement, which refused to register the 
stamp tax and land tax which in his desperation he had 
proposed. The French parlements were entirely different 
in their nature from the British Parliament or the Ameri- 
can Congress. They were not legislative chambers, but 
bodies of men, mostly jurists, who registered — that is, 
reduced to writing and sanctioned — the edicts of the 
king. Nominally they had the right, which they some- 
times exercised, of refusing to register. In such case the 
king could hold what was called a lit de justice (bed of 
justice) and command them to register, which they had to 
do. Another way of bringing the Parlement to terms, was 
to exile it to some distant provincial town, which usually 
reduced it to obedience. 

The Parlement of Paris came into existence in the 
fourteenth century. It soon increased in power and au- 
thority, and was allowed in time to administer justice by 
itself. The offices connected with the Parlement could be 
bought, and they and their perquisites become the property 
of those who purchased them, and could be trans- 
mitted to their children. One of the perquisites that such 
offices carried was a patent of nobility, and thus was 
created the noblesse de la robe. 

It was not until the advent of Richelieu that the Paris 
Parlement encountered any serious check in its dominating 
career, and the policy of the great minister was inherited 
by the Grand Monarque. It was in Louis the Fifteenth, 
however, that the Parlement found its most aggressive 



enemy. He exiled it from Paris in 1753, and in 1770, 
on the advice of Maupeou, abolished it altogether. On 
his accession, Louis the Sixteenth recalled the former 
councillors, and now he was to find them the stiffest of 
defenders of many of the most odious abuses of the 
Old Regime. 

The Parlement of Paris was further strengthened in 
the country by the existence of similar bodies in twelve of 
the chief provincial cities: Aix, Besancon, Bordeaux, 
Dijon, Douai, Grenoble, Metz, Nancy, Pau, Rennes, 
Rouen, and Toulouse. Though these provincial parle- 
ments had no actual connection with that of Paris, they 
invariably made common cause with it in all its struggles 
with the Crown. 

During the discussion over the taxes proposed by 
Brienne, the Parlement insisted that it be furnished with 
a report upon the " states of the finances," a demand which 
led to the ominous remark: " It is not the states of the 
finances, but the States-General, that we want." 

Enraged over the refusal of the Parlement to register 
the taxes, Brienne lost his head, and resolved upon strong 
measures. A Bed of Justice was held at Versailles, to 
register the edicts, but the following day, on its return 
to Paris, the Parlement annulled its action. The members 
were thereupon sent into exile at Troyes, where they re- 
mained until September, when a compromise was agreed 
upon, and they were allowed to return to Paris. 

For all this trouble and disorder the Queen was held 
accountable. She had assumed the responsibility of appear- 
ing to govern the kingdom, while she allowed others to 
act, to intrigue, and to make appointments which were 
supposed by the public to be her choice. Now she had to 
bear all the discredit of their blunders. In vain she made 
enormous sacrifices, reducing the expenses of her house- 
hold over a million francs a year, and trying in every 
way to propitiate public opinion — it was too late. She 
had become so unpopular that they did not dare to expose 
her portrait at the Salon for fear that it would be insulted 
by the public. 



In August 1788 there was not enough money to pay the 
interest due on the public debt, and the Controller, who 
was at the end of his resources, was an object of abhor- 
rence to the entire nation. Much to her chagrin and 
humiliation, the Queen was forced to yield} Brienne re- 
signed, and Necker was recalled. 

The news produced a profound impression at Paris. 
" There are few examples," writes Besenval, " of so 
sudden a transition from rage and despair to satisfaction 
and rapture, as were shown in Paris." 

The recall of Necker in 1788 was the last public act 
of Marie-Antoinette prior to the epoch of the Revolu- 
tion. Discouraged by so many failures she ceased to take 
part in the Councils of the King, and devoted herself 
to domestic affairs. On the 27 March 1785, she had given 
birth to the Due de Normandie, the future martyr of the 
Temple, the so-called Louis the Seventeenth. On the 
9 July of the following year, another daughter was born, 
but this child lived scarcely a year. 

The return of Necker to power immediately restored 
confidence. He undid all that Brienne had done, repealed 
the edicts and revoked the decree of bankruptcy, pledging 
his own fortune as security for loans to the State. 

On the first day of January 1789, the news spread 
through Paris that four days previously the King, on re- 
ceiving Monsieur Necker's report, had decided in Coun- 
cil on the convocation of the States-General. This was 
Necker's " New Year's Gift to France," which was re- 
ceived with thanksgiving from one end of the kingdom 
to the other. 





The Royal Program — Apparent Power of the Sovereign — The 
Maison du Roi — Its Great Expense — Spirit of Reform in the 
Nation — The Reactionary Faction — The King Receives the 
Deputies — The Church Ceremony — The Session Opens — 
Separation of the Orders — The Advent of Mirabeau — At- 
tempts to Unite the Orders — Sieyes and Bailly — The Deadlock 
Continues — The National Assembly — The Oath of the Tennis- 
Court — The Seance Royale — The Orders Finally United — 
The Breton Club — Plot to Suppress the Assembly — Demoral- 
ization of the Army — Concentration of Troops at Paris — The 
King Reassures the Assembly — Dismissal of Necker — The 
King's Duplicity 

AFTER an interval of one hundred and seventy-five 
years the nation was once more to deliberate on 
its own affairs. The States-General were invited to 
assemble at Versailles on the fifth day of May 1789. 
A new era had dawned for France. The whole country 
was in an ecstacy of delight. 

The attitude of the Government, as shown in the regu- 
lations issued for the guidance of the Kins^'s agents, was 
most liberal. The preamble stated that " His Maiestv has 
determined to assemble the States-General of the King- 
dom about his own dwelling, not in any way to fetter 
their deliberations, but to preserve in regard to them the 
character which lies nearest his heart — that of counsellor 
and friend." 

The royal program was an excellent one, if only it had 
been followed: No taxation without the consent of the 
nation J the States to meet regularly j a budget to be 
adopted j lettres de cachet to be abolished 5 freedom of 



the press to be instituted j and, greatest of all, a Constitu- 
tion, with equal taxation for all classes. 

For the elections to the Third Estate practically uni- 
versal suflFrage had been granted j every man who had 
reached the age of twenty-five, and who paid taxes, was 
given the right to vote. The elections, which began in 
January, were not entirely finished at the date set for the 
first meeting. The representatives of the nation numbered 
1 155, of whom about 600, or more than a majority, be- 
longed to the Third Estate. They had been summoned 
to meet at Versailles, not, as frequently stated^ on account 
of the King's love of the chase, but for the convenience 
of the Government, and to avoid the enormous ex- 
pense of the transfer of the Court if the States should 
sit elsewhere. 

At the moment that the States-General were about to 
assemble again, after an interval of nearly two centuries, 
the King of France was still in theory an absolute mon- 
arch. He reigned over twenty-five million souls — as 
many as were contained in all the divided states of Ger- 
many, and twice as many as in England. He seemed to 
be the most powerful sovereign in Europe. 

The King lived at Versailles in the magnificent palace 
erected by his ancestor — removed from the great and 
turbulent city of Paris. Although the royal prestige was 
still maintained by the same etiquette, the forms were 
less rigorous than under the Grand Monarque, for Louis 
was simple in his tastes, and even Marie- Antoinette pre- 
ferred the small intimate fetes of the Petit-Trianon. 

The King was surrounded by three households: the 
civil, the ecclesiastic, and the military. 

The positions in the civil household were filled by the 
royal princes and the greatest nobles of the land: Conde, 
Penthievre, Richelieu, Duras, and Liancourt. 

At the head of the ecclesiastical establishment was Mon- 
seigneur de Montmorency-Laval, Bishop of Metz, the 
Grand-Almoner of France. 

The military household was composed of three corps 



d'elite : the Gardes du Corps, the Gardes Suisses, and the 
Gardes Frangaises, whose duty it was to protect the person 
of the King, and to maintain order at Versailles and at 

The Gardes du Corps, about 1300 men, were divided 
into four companies, garrisoned at Beauvais, Amiens, 
Troyes, and Chalons, whence they came in turn to take 
up their service at the Chateau. The four captains be- 
longed to the greatest families, and all had the grade of 
general in the Army. 

The Swiss Guards were a single regiment of 2250 
men, who had their barracks at Rueil and Courbevoie. 
Two companies were always on duty at Versailles, where 
they maintained order outside the palace. 

Finally, there was the regiment of the Gardes Fran- 
gaises, about 3650 men, all of whom were at least five 
feet eight in height. This was one of the finest organiza- 
tions in the kingdom. Charged with the maintenance of 
order at Versailles, and particularly at Paris, where they 
were garrisoned, they were great favorites with the people 
of the capital. The colonel was the Due de Chatelet, and 
all of the officers belonged to the high nobility. The non- 
commissioned officers and the soldiers were superior to 
those of other regiments 5 many of the sergeants were 
well educated, and capable of making excellent officers j 
several were destined to attain high rank: Hoche, Le- 
febvre and Friant. 

Since the accession of Louis the Sixteenth the Maison 
du Roi had been largely reduced, from motives of econ- 
omy, by Saint-Germain and other reforming ministers, 
and the Mousquetaires, of glorious memory, and the 
Cent-Suisses had been suppressed. 

Modelled upon the household of the King, there were 
the similar establishments of the Queen, the Dauphin, 
the two brothers of the King, Provence and Artois, and 
the princes and princesses of the royal family. This Court, 
with its 6000 civil and 9000 military functionaries, made 
up a real city of I5,CX)0 persons. 

The total expenses of the Maison du Roi in 1789 


amounted to over thirty million livres a year, a sum 
which would be equivalent to-day to about one hundred 
millions. Without going into the details, it may be said 
that, with the pensions and the gifts of the King, the 
Court absorbed about ten per cent, of the total revenues 
of the State. When the Court changed its residence for a 
period of two or three months, the expense was enor- 
mous — some six million livres. 

In reality, however, the strength of the monarchy was 
more apparent than real. The King had lost much of his 
prestige, and the royal authority had been seriously under- 
mined. The ministry itself was divided into two factions: 
the reformers, represented by Necker, and the partisans 
of despotism under Barentin, who had the support of the 
royal princes. Tossed to and fro between the two parties, 
the King was becoming more and more irresolute, 
and incapable of adopting a fixed plan of government. 
At the same time, troubles were increasing in every part 
of the kingdom, and a social and economic crisis had de- 
veloped which demanded a firm hand at the helm of 

As the day approached for the assembling of the 
States-General, the whole nation was animated by a spirit 
of reform, but a reform very moderate in character, which 
did not aim to overthrow the existing government. With 
a striking unanimity the " Cahiers de doleances " drawn 
up by the three Orders demanded a Constitution upon the 
English or American model, and the abolition of 

But, while in accord on this fundamental proposition, 
the Orders were divided on the question of maintaining 
or abolishing " privileges." The reactionary faction com- 
prised the bishops and the higher clergy, about one hun- 
dred in number, and a large majority of the nobles, some 
two hundred strong: in all three hundred deputies. The 
party of reformers was made up of two hundred cures, 
ninety nobles of liberal tendencies, and the whole body 
of the Third Estate, six hundred in number. 



Among the reformers were to be found nearly all of 
those men whose names afterwards became prominent 
during the Revolution. In the first rank of the Third 
Estate were Bailly, Malouet, Thouret, Mounier, Barnave, 
Merlin of Douai, Petion and Robespierre. Many of the 
liberal members of the Clergy and the Noblesse were al- 
ready illustrious. Among the group of army officers were 
La Fayette, and his comrades who had served in Amer- 
ica: Noailles, Segur, and Aiguillon. This party also in- 
cluded among its members La Rochefoucauld, Liancourt, 
Clermont-Tonnerre, and Lally-Tollendal. 

Among the Clergy there were very few who had al- 
ready gained a reputation. Most of the cures, like Gre- 
goire, were not known outside of their parishes. The most 
celebrated was the Abbe Sieyes^ and to his name must be 
added that of the Bishop of Autun, Talleyrand-Perigord, 
member of an illustrious noble family, grand seigneur 
rather than ecclesiastic, imbued with liberal ideas. 

By the end of April all of the deputies then elected had 
reached Versailles. They had been summoned for the 
twenty-sixth, and were anxiously waiting for the sessions 
to begin. On Saturday the second of May the King re- 
ceived the representatives at the Chateau. The Clergy 
were first admitted to the royal cabinet, the two folding 
doors being thrown wide open. Then followed the Nobil- 
ity, for whom only one of the doors was opened. Last of 
all, the Third Estate, after a weary wait of three mortal 
hours, were received by the King in his bed-chamber. 
The sovereign, standing between his two brothers, said not 
a word to any of them. Each deputy, having made his 
obeisance, turned and passed out. This difference in the 
treatment of the three orders was in strict accordance with 
tradition, but it made a very unfavorable impression on 
the members of the Third Estate, who left the palace 
with their feeling of loyalty considerably chilled. 

The ceremony of Monday the fourth of May pro- 
duced a better impression. Through streets hung with 
tapestry, between the serried ranks of the French and 
Swiss Guards, who held back the enormous crowd, the 



procession made its way to the Cathedral of Saint-Louis. 
All Paris had come to see the ceremony, and windows 
at Versailles were rented for sixty francs each. 

First came the members of the Third Estate, walking 
four abreast. They were all dressed, like lawyers, in plain 
black costumes, with toques, short cloaks and black stock- 
ings. Hardly a face was familiar to the crowd except that 
of Mirabeau, the deputy from Aix, whose powerful 
homely visage attracted general attention. Nevertheless 
they were cheered by the crowd as they passed. 

Then came the Nobility, with their mantles em- 
broidered with gold, and white plumes floating above 
their hats. Next, the order of the Clergy, marching in 
two divisions, separated by the musicians of the Royal 
Chapel: first, the lower clergy, in black cassocks j then, 
the bishops, in violet cassocks, and the cardinals in red 

Immediately following, came the Court, the royal 
princes, and the Due d'Orleans, who was cheered by the 
crowd J then the princesses, and the Queen, who was re- 
ceived in silence. Finally came the King, who was loudly 

At the church, the Clergy and the Nobility found seats 
reserved for themj the Third Estate placed themselves 
as best they could. La Fare, Bishop of Nancy, who 
preached the sermon, read the Court a lecture. The King 
went to sleep, the Queen bit her lips, and the deputies 
applauded. That evening Versailles was illuminated, and 
joy and confidence filled every heart. 

Tuesday morning, the fifth of May, at eight o'clock, 
the formal opening of the States-General took place in 
the Salle des Menus-Plaisirs, upon the Avenue de Paris. 
This hall, in which the Revolution was to be made, bore 
the name of the king's diversions! The calling of the 
roll lasted nearly four hours. During this time the depu- 
ties were crowded together in front of the dais, hung with 
violet velvet studded with fleurs de lis, on which the 
throne was set under a splendid canopy. About noon the 
King made his entry, followed by the Queen, who took 



her seat in an armchair at his left. Upon the benches at 
the right of the throne were the Clergy j at the left, the 
Nobility 5 in the centre, the dark mass of the Third Estate. 
The galleries were crowded with the great ladies of 
Paris, with the foreign ambassadors, and with visitors 
from all parts of the world. The King read a short ad- 
dress, keeping his plumed hat on his head the while. 
According to custom, the Clergy and the Nobility also 
remained covered, and the Third Estate imitated them, 
although this was contrary to usage. 

The King, in a paternal discourse, delivered in his loud 
rough voice, recommended love and concord to his people. 
All was very vague, but he was vigorously applauded. 
Then the Keeper of the Seals, Barentin, briefly outlined 
a program of reform in taxation, in the administration of 
justice, and in the regulation of the liberty of the press. 

Finally, Necker delivered a long address on the 
finances. For two hours he talked in vague terms of the 
deficit, which he greatly understated, and proposed a loan 
of eighty millions. He claimed that the increased reve- 
nues under his administration would soon bring order 
into the finances, and that there was no danger of bank- 
ruptcy. His long-winded discourse tired everybody, and 
satisfied no one. He said nothing about the great ques- 
tion of the Constitution, and seemed to recommend the 
division of the three Orders. 

At four-thirty the session was adjourned, amid general 
cries of " Vive le Roi ! " Even the Queen, who had not 
been acclaimed for years, was cheered again and again, 
so gracious was her curtesy of acknowledgment. 

The sixth of May the Clergy and the Nobility held 
their meetings separately 5 the Third Estate remained in 
the hall of the Menus, the only chamber which was large 
enough to hold the three orders united. The " Com- 
mons," as they had already begun to call themselves, after 
some moments of perplexity, determined, insomuch as the 
Government had not definitely pronounced against the 
cumulative vote, to wait and see how matters turned out. 
The two other Orders might decide to join them. 



Soon news was brought to them that a motion to this 
effect had been lost in the two other " Chambers," by a 
vote of 141 to 47 in the Nobles, and of 133 to 114 in 
the Clergy. In this case a change of ten votes would have 
carried the day. 

On motion of Mounier in the Third Estate it was pro- 
posed to send a semi-official delegation to invite the two 
other Orders to amalgamate with the Commons. Sud- 
denly there appeared in the tribune a large, powerful 
form, with a thick mane of dark hairj with mobile and 
expressive, but extremely ugly, features j with fiery blood- 
shot eyes, and a flushed face. His name was repeated 
from mouth to mouth: " Riqueti de Mirabeau! " It was 
his first appearance on the rostrum. 

Honore-Gabriel Riqueti was descended from a wealthy 
bourgeois family of Marseille, which had purchased the 
domain and chateau of Mirabeau, and with them the title, 
from the family of Barras. His family for three genera- 
tions had been famous for its great abilities and its vio- 
lent passions. He was born in 1749, and after serving for 
a short time in the army, on account of his dissipation had 
suffered several terms of imprisonment by lettres de 
cachet. It was only when he left Vincennes in 1781, after 
three years' confinement, that he began to show himself 
the great man he really was. It was then that he published 
his first valuable work, and from that time on he steadily 
improved in power and political knowledge. He possessed 
an extraordinary art of using other men's ideas and ap- 
propriating the fruits of their labor. His motto seems 
to have been, " Je prends mon bien ou je le trouve." 
Aulard thinks that we cannot positively ascribe to him 
any of the set orations which he delivered. He had many 
assistants and collaborateurs. Yet no one can assert that 
he won his power or fame by plagiarism. Nobody can 
dispute his genius as an orator: he had an excellent voice, 
and he held and swayed his audience. But he was not a 
debater, and did not shine in repartee. 

In 1789 he had hoped to become a delegate to the 
States-General for the noblesse of his native place, Aix, 



but they rejected him, and he secured an election to the 
Third Estate. 

Any man of less confidence in himself than Mirabeau 
would have been daunted by the murmur of reprobation 
which met him when he first rose to speak in opposition 
to the resolution of Mounier. He would have no agree- 
ment, ofiicial or semi-official, with the other Chambers, 
he said, and would make no overtures. Let the Commons 
wait, and the other Orders, already divided among them- 
selves, would come to them. 

The Assembly hooted this renegade, who had been 
rejected by his own order, and cheered Mounier, whose 
motion was adopted. 

The Clergy received the delegation with friendliness. 
Many of the cures, and six of the prelates, were in favor 
of the proposition. 

The Nobles were courteous, and listened politely to 
the requesc. Some of them went so far as to say that they 
were in sympathy with the idea. 

Resolved that there should be no formal organization 
of the Assembly until the two privileged Orders came 
to take their places, the Third Estate appointed no presi- 
dent, and marked time. For ten days there was a continual 
coming and going of embassies from one Chamber to 
another. During this time the Government made no 
move, but there was already talk at Court of using this 
disagreement between the Orders as a pretext for dis- 
solving the States-General. The Queen and the Princes 
were already hostile, and a formidable opposition to 
Necker was developing in the Ministry. The King was 
uncertain and vacillating. On the fourth of June the 
little Dauphin died at Meudon, and the royal family re- 
tired to Marly. 

In the meantime the disunion among the Clergy and 
the Nobility was daily increasing, and the Commons felt 
sure of victory if the executive power did not intervene. 
The original " forty-seven " were gaining recruits among 
the Noblesse, and the majority were already talking of a 
resort to force. 



The confidence of the Commons had been strengthened 
on the 25 May by the tardy arrival of the Paris depu- 
ties, all of them strong liberals. They were headed by 
the aged Bailly, the great astronomer, and the Abbe 
Sieyes, who, like Mirabeau, was a deserter from his own 

Joseph Sieyes, who was destined to play a prominent 
role during the Revolution, the Consulate and the 
Empire, was born at Frejus the 3 May 1748. He was 
educated at the Sorbonne, where he read more books on 
politics than on theology. He became a canon in Bretagne, 
and later vicar-general of the diocese of Chartres. In 1788 
he published several political pamphlets which had a large 
sale and much influence in the provinces, and gave him 
a great reputation throughout France. But this also pre- 
vented his election to the States-General by his own order, 
and he was the twentieth and last deputy to the Third 
Estate chosen by the city of Paris. 

Jean-Sylvain Bailly was the only son of the curator 
of the Louvre, and was born in 1736. At an early age 
he became interested in astronomy, and in 1763 was 
elected a member of the Academy of Sciences. Later he 
published in five volumes his histories of astronomy, 
which gained him a great reputation, and led to his 
election to the Academie Frangaise. But he was best known 
to his countrymen by his reports on Mesmer, whom he 
proved to be a charlatan, and on the horrible mis- 
management of the Hotel Dieu, the chief hospital of 
Paris. To his surprise he was elected first deputy from 
Paris, but his lack of political experience made him a 
failure when called upon to play a difficult role in public 

While the Tiers £tat was awaiting the course of events, 
the Clergy and the Nobility had at once organized 
and elected as their presidents the Cardinal de La 
Rochefoucauld, Archbishop of Rouen, and the Due de 

After the deadlock had continued for two weeks the 
King directed that there should be a conference between 



committees of the three orders to see if any compromise 
could be reached. The Commons appointed sixteen com- 
missioners, but no understanding could be arrived at. 
About this time Monseigneur de La Luzerne, the Bishop 
of Langres, suggested that the Clergy and the Nobility 
should unite and form one chamber on the analogy of the 
British House of Lords, but this wise and temperate pro- 
posal was ignored by the King. 

At last, on the lO June, on motion of Sieyes, who had 
taken the lead in the Tiers £tat, a final invitation was sent 
the two privileged orders, with an intimation that if it 
was not accepted the Commons would at once organize 
as the States-General of France, not as a separate order. 
Two days later, Bailly was elected provisional president, 
and on the following day there came the first break in the 
deadlock: three cures left the Clergy and joined the 
Commons. On the 17 June, swayed by the eloquence of 
Mirabeau, the Third Estate by an immense majority de- 
clared itself to be the " National Assembly of France." 

This move was viewed with dismay by the Govern- 
ment, and the Comte d'Artois, who had taken the lead 
of the Court party, loudly called for the suppression of 
the insolent Commons. An order was issued for the sus- 
pension of the sessions of the Tiers fitat until after a 
" seance royale " to be held on the 22 June. 

When the members of the Third Estate went to their 
hall on the morning of the 20 June, they found it closed. 
They immediately ran to the Tennis-Court, the largest 
building they could find in the vicinity, and here they 
took the celebrated oath never to adjourn until a con- 
stitution had been adopted. Only one deputy declined to 
take the oath. The Commons were now a band of rebels 
to the royal commands — rebels who, in the words of 
Franklin, would hang separately if they did not hang 

On the 22 June, after hearing that the royal session was 
postponed, the National Assembly met in the Cathedral 
of Saint-Louis, because the Tennis-Court had been re- 
served by the Comte d'Artois for a game. Here they 



were joined by 149 of the Estate of the Clergy, and two 
members of the Noblesse. 

Even then the Court did not seem to realize the danger 
of the situation, and at the seance royale on the 23 June 
the King directed that the three orders should continue 
to meet separately. The King had said that the Assembly 
must dissolve, and " Cy veult le roy, cy veult la loi " 
(The king's will is the law). He arose from his seat 
and left the hall, followed by the Nobility and most of 
the Clergy. The trumpets sounded as he entered his 
coach to return to the Chateau. It was the crucial moment 
of the Revolution. 

The Third Estate, in gloomy silence, still held its place 
in the centre of the hall. Suddenly Dreux-Breze, the 
Grand Master of the King's Household, in full court 
dress, appeared at the door, and in the King's name re- 
quested the members to retire. The president, Bailly, 
pale and trembling, said that ^^ the Assembly would con- 
sider the question." Then Mirabeau rose to the occasion. 
In a voice deep with passion he cried: " Go tell those who 
sent you that the National Assembly will never leave 
here except at the point of the bayonet! " 

The young Marquis de Dreux-Breze returned to the 
Chateau and reported to the King. Louis, with a weary 
gesture, said: " They mean to stay? . . . Well then, 
... let them stay! " 

The courage of Mirabeau had won the victory. With 
the vision of a great statesman he had seen that retreat 
was impossible, and had thus assured the power of the 
National Assembly. On the 25 June forty-seven liberal 
members of the Noblesse, headed by the Due d'Orleans, 
joined the Assembly, and by the King's command the rest 
followed two days later. A committee was at once ap- 
pointed to draft a constitution for the kingdom. 

At this time the members of the Assembly began to 
get better acquainted with each other and to form clubs. 
The first and most important of these was the Breton 
Club, from which finally arose the celebrated club of the 



Jacobins. After the election of the delegates from Bre- 
tagne, committees had been formed in all the principal 
cities of the province to keep in touch by correspondence 
with the members at Versailles. These deputies got in 
the habit of meeting regularly at some chosen place to 
exchange views, and soon formed a small society. They 
were later joined by other delegates, and the salon became 
the rendez-vous of many members of the Assembly. 

The Court was already thinking of means of suppress- 
ing the Assembly. No plan, however, was discussed in the 
Council, and no violent measures were suggested to the 
King, who was known to be opposed to any resort to 
force. But the Government began little by little to con- 
centrate troops in the vicinity of Versailles. On the 26 
June marching orders were sent to six regiments, three 
of cavalry and three of infantry j and the first of July 
ten other infantry regiments and two battalions of artil- 
lery, principally Swiss or Germans, were ordered from 
the North and East. At the end of ten days, a small 
army was concentrated around Versailles and Paris. 
Almost before the Parisians knew what was happening 
there was a large camp of foreign soldiers stationed in 
the Champ-de-Mars. The aged Marechal de Broglie was 
invested with the chief command. 

Victor-Frangois de Broglie, the second duke of that 
title, was descended from the Italian family of Broglio^ 
and both his father and grandfather had attained the 
rank of Marechal de France. He had first seen service in 
Italy in 1734 in the War of the Austrian Succession; had 
become a lieutenant-general in 1748; and had greatly 
distinguished himself in the Seven Years' War, during 
which he gained for the French their only important vic- 
tory. His success at Berghem, on the 19 April 1759, won 
for him the rank of Marechal de France, and also of 
Prince of the Empire. He was just seventy years of age 
when he was summoned to Versailles by the Camte 
d'Artois to take command of the army around Paris. In 
spite of the protests of his son, the Prince de Broglie, 

[ 75 ] 


and of his nephews, Charles and Alexandre de Lameth, 
he accepted the invitation. He had been a great soldier 
and a great general in his earlier years, and it was difficult 
for him to realize that the troops encamped on the 
Champ-de-Mars were not as devoted to the King as the 
men who had fought under him during his campaigns. 
Thoroughly loyal himself, he could not believe that his 
officers were not trustworthy. 

Broglie was soon constrained to admit, however, that 
there would be some risk in employing French troops 
against the Parisians, but he did not think that the foreign 
mercenaries would hesitate to obey orders. In fact the 
Army was already dangerously disaffected. In normal 
times nearly the entire force of i8o,000 men had been 
stationed along the northern and eastern frontiers, prin- 
cipally in Flandre, Artois, Champagne, Lorraine and Al- 
sace, with very few troops in the interior provinces. But 
lately the soldiers had been divided into small detach- 
ments of from 50 to 700 men, and dispersed throughout 
the kingdom, even in the small cities and towns, to main- 
tain order, which was very much troubled everywhere. 
The effect of this policy was doubly disastrous to the 
Crown: the troops had become infected with the popular 
discontent, and they were so widely dispersed that it was 
difficult to concentrate any large force quickly in the 
vicinity of the capital. 

The whole Army was lacking in moral. The troops 
were reluctant to maintain order, and absolutely refused 
to shed the blood of the people. Many of the officers were 
discontented on account of the edict of Segur, and many 
had thrown up their commissions and retired to their 
homes. The soldiers were also exasperated by the severity 
of the new Prussian discipline. They openly discussed 
public affairs, and were ready for desertion or revolt. 
There were signs of discontent even among the corps 
d'elite, like the Gardes Frangaises. 

The Government was not ignorant of these facts. Even 
before the meeting of the States-General, Necker had 
warned the King that he was deceived regarding the 



loyalty of the Army 5 that the troops would not march 
against the representatives of .he people, and that it was 
not safe to order them to Versailles. 

The concentration of the foreign mercenaries around 
the capital had frightened the Assembly. The deputies 
of the Third Estate feared for their liberty and even 
their lives. In Paris the most alarming reports were cir- 
culated: the Assembly was to be dissolved, the members 
imprisoned, and the city given up to pillage. 

On the 8 July, Mirabeau spoke on this subject in the 
Assembly, and it was voted to ask the Government to 
withdraw the troops. Two days later the King assured a 
delegation of the Assembly that the troops were only 
intended to maintain order and to protect the freedom 
of the States-General. But he aroused new distrust by 
stating at the end of his discourse that if the necessary 
presence of the troops in the vicinity of Paris was dis- 
quieting, he was willing, on the request of the Assembly, 
to transfer the States-General to Noyon or Soissons, and 
to go himself to Compiegne so as to keep in close touch 
with their deliberations. 

It is unnecessary to say that the Assembly had no idea 
of moving to a place in close proximity to the northern 
provinces, which were full of troops, and certainly would 
not make such a request. 

At this moment, when only half of the 18,000 troops 
ordered to Paris had arrived, the Court decided on an 
act of the utmost gravity. After the session of the 8 July, 
when Mirabeau had denounced the plan of a counter- 
revolution, Breteuil had been summoned to Versailles. 
He arrived on the morning of the tenth and had a con- 
ference with the King and Queen. Later, as already 
stated, the King received the delegation of the Assembly 
and endeavored to reassure them regarding the presence 
of the troops. That night there was a secret Council, at- 
tended by many members of the Noblesse. The next morn- 
ing the King presided over a meeting of the Ministers, 
where Necker was not present. He tried to conceal his 
trouble by pretending to doze. At the close of the meeting 



he took one of the ministers aside and charged him with 
a letter to Necker, ordering him immediately to leave the 
kingdom. That same evening, Necker, under pretence of 
making a visit to Saint-Ouen, set out for Switzerland by 
way of Brussels, in order to avoid Bourgogne and the 
Franche-Compte, which were in a state of unrest. On 
Sunday, the 12 July, the new ministry, arranged three 
weeks before, was partly formed. Breteuil was at the 
head, and directed the Finances j Broglie took the War 
Office J La Porte, the Marine j and La Vauguyon, the 
Foreign Affairs. 

The dismissal of Necker was an act fraught with the 
gravest consequences. The people had confidence in him. 
Bankers and investors regarded him as the upholder of the 
public credit and a guarantee against bankruptcy. The 
Assembly knew that in the Government he was the ad- 
versary of the Court party. Even the ministers opposed to 
him, like Barentin, realized the gravity of the error com- 
mitted by the King. No excuse can be found for this 
double-dealing on the part of Louis, which led directly 
to the fall of the Bastille and the eventual destruction of 
the Monarchy. 

I 781 




The Palais-Royal — The Gardes Fransaises — Paris Learns of Necker's 
Dismissal — Rage of the People — Encounter with the Troops — 
The City Aroused — The Bandits Appear — The News at Ver- 
sailles — National Guard Formed at Paris — The Fourteenth of 
July — The Mob at the Invalides — At the Bastille — History 
of the Fortress — The Mob Demands Arms — It Enters the 
Outer Court — The Attack Begins — The Governor Surrenders 

— Massacre of Launay and Flesselles — Versailles Hears the 
News — The Legend of the Bastille — Louis Visits the Assembly 

— The First Emigration — The King at Paris — Lally-ToUendal 

— Marquis de La Fayette — His Career 

THE favorite meeting-place of the rabble during the 
Revolution was the gardens of the Palais-Royal. 
This palace was erected in 1634 by Cardinal Riche- 
lieu, and was at first known as the Palais-Cardinal. At his 
death, he bequeathed the property to the king, Louis the 
Thirteenth, who only survived him by five months. The 
following year, when his widow, Anne of Austria, came 
to live there with her two children, Louis the Fourteenth, 
then aged five, and Philippe d'Orleans, the name of the 
palace was changed to Palais-Royal. It came into the 
possession of the Orleans family by the gift of Louis 
to his younger brother. When the palace was rebuilt in 
1783, after its partial destruction by fire, the Due 
d'Orleans (figalite) constructed arcades around the 
gardens, which he let out for shops, thereby making the 
palace the most magnificent bazaar in the world. 

In the Palais-Royal, at all hours of the day and night, 
there was usually an immense crowd of workmen out of 
work, young avocats without practice, and political agita- 



tors of every description, who assembled there to give 
vent to their feelings and listen to their favorite orators. 
Above all, this was the appointed rendez-vous of the 
agents of the Due d'Orleans, who brought him the first 
news of everything which happened at Versailles. Later it 
became a general gathering-place, and was recognized as 
the centre of political opinion in Paris. It was also the 
favorite resort of all the abandoned characters of the city, 
both male and female. 

At that time in Paris, as in every other capital in 
Europe, order was maintained by the troops, and there 
was no regular police force. The garrison of Paris then 
consisted of the Gardes Frangaises, who were all French- 
men by birth, and generally Parisians. Many of the 
soldiers had distinguished themselves in the campaigns of 
France, but at the time of the Revolution they had not 
left Paris for more than twenty-five years, and the men 
had naturally deteriorated by living so long in the gay 
capital, without seeing active service. From the fact that 
the troops were always stationed in Paris, commissions 
were eagerly sought for, and were considered next in 
honor to places in the body-guard. Being closely related 
by birth and marriage with the people of Paris, the force 
could not be depended upon to act against the populace. 
The oflicers as a rule lived away from their men, and, as 
was generally the case in the old Royal army, the main- 
tenance of discipline was entrusted to the non-commis- 
sioned officers, who were a very fine body of men. 

The news of the dismissal of Necker, which became 
known at Versailles on the evening of the ii July, filled 
the deputies with consternation. When the report reached 
Paris at noon on the following day, it was received at first 
with incredulity and then, when confirmed, with alarm. 
All the city rushed to the Palais-Royal, and at three 
o'clock the gardens were crowded. It was a sweltering 
July day, and the passions of the people were at fever- 
heat. The assembled throng was harangued by Camille 
Desmoulins and other orators. They were told that Mon- 
sieur Necker had been dismissed, and that this was the 



tocsin of the Saint-Bartholomew for all patriots, who 
would be massacred that night by the Swiss and German 
mercenaries assembled on the Champ-de-Mars. "To 
arms! " cried Camille. " We have but one chance left — 
to fly to arms! " 

From the ten thousand men packed in the gardens there 
came a thunderous roar of approval. The crowd must have 
some badge of recognition : leaves were detached from the 
trees, and became for twenty-four hours the green cockade 
of the Revolution, the " color of hope." Then the crowd, 
led by Camilla, rushed to the Boulevard du Temple, and 
thronged to the shop of Curtius. 

Curtius was a Swiss doctor of Berne, whose beautiful 
anatomical models in wax had attracted the attention of 
the Prince de Conti, who persuaded him to come to Paris, 
where he achieved great success with his busts. His niece, 
afterwards Madame Tussaud, had learned from him to 
model in wax, and it was from his shop that she brought 
to London the models which formed the nucleus of her 
famous collection. 

Curtius was a radical, and his shop was full of busts 
of all the popular leaders. He readily gave the crowd 
the busts of Necker and the Due d'Orleans, who were 
then the idols of the masses, and behind these trophies the 
procession formed. The mob then marched by the boule- 
vards and the Rues Saint-Denis, Saint-Martin, and Saint- 
Honore to the Place Vendome. Here they met a detach- 
ment of the cavalry of Royal-Allemand, commanded by 
Prince de Lambesc. After a short skirmish the troops 
fell back to the Place Louis-Quinze. The Pont de la Con- 
corde was then in process of construction and the square 
was filled with large building stones. There is consider- 
able discrepancy in the accounts of what followed, but 
all the reports agree that the crowd, after first taking 
refuge behind the work-sheds, became more courageous, 
and began to stone the troopers. Lambesc then ordered 
his men to ride slowly forward, without attempting to 
charge, and disperse the rioters. The mob at once fled, and 
many took refuge in the Tuileries Gardens, whence they 



hurled chairs at the dragoons. The busts were smashed, 
one trooper was knocked o£F his horse and injured, and 
one old man, who either would not or could not get out 
of the way, was knocked down. He was not badly hurt, 
but, to excite the rage of the populace, it was reported 
that he was killed. 

This " charge," grossly exaggerated by the popular re- 
ports, aroused all Paris. The people pillaged the shops 
where arms were sold, and the French Guards rushed 
from their barracks to take part in the riot. They threw 
themselves between the crowd and the dragoons, and 
fired a volley which killed several of the troopers and 
drove the others back. At the first sign of civil war, 
Lambesc took fright, and ordered his men to retreat via 
the Champs-filysees to the Champ-de-Mars. Besenval, 
the commandant at Paris, who had 5000 men under his 
control, refused to aid Lambesc. Without precise orders 
from Marechal de Broglie, and feeling very uncertain 
as to the loyalty of his men, he remained quietly at his 
headquarters in the £cole Militaire, and let events take 
their course. By one o'clock in the morning, all the dra- 
goons were back in their casernes on the left bank of the 
Seine. This retreat handed Paris over to the mob. 

The hot July night which followed brought little rest 
to the Parisians: it was the first of many a terrible night 
through which the city was to pass within the next ten 
years. During the hours of darkness, the tocsin sounded 
iFrom the belfry of the Hotel-de-Ville and was taken up 
by the church towers throughout the sleepless city, from 
the Faubourg Saint-Antoine to the Chaillot Gate. It was 
not, as so often stated, a cry for help against the Govern- 
ment at Versailles, but a summons for all good citizens 
to rise up and repel the " bandits," who had descended 
upon the city. Everywhere these birds of ill-omen were 
at work. In one section they pillaged the shops of the 
gunsmiths and seized arms; in another they sacked the 
taverns, and searched the shops of the butchers and bakers 
for provisions. In still another, the mob attacked the 
octroi barriers and set them on fire, so as to put an end 



to the duties on the import of provisions to the city. But 
no attacks were made on persons, and in the heart of 
the city the rich shops in streets like the Rue Richelieu 
and the Rue Vivienne were protected by patrols of armed 

On Monday morning the Assembly met as usual at 
Versailles. Anxious over the news from Paris they sent 
another deputation to request the King to withdraw the 
troops. The demand was refused as before, and the Assem- 
bly passed a resolution expressing its regret at the dis- 
missal of Nccker and his colleagues j at the same time 
declaring that it would not cease to insist on the with- 
drawal of the troops lately assembled at Paris and Ver- 
sailles, and upon the establishment of gardes bourgeoises. 

That same day a municipal revolution was accom- 
plished at Paris. By one accord the electors flocked to the 
H6tel-de-Ville. They had been chosen originally for the 
purpose of electing deputies to the States-General, and 
ought then to have dispersed. This, however, they had 
refused to do, and now, in this critical hour, they came 
together to form a provisional government. During the 
day they were occupied in organizing a municipal guard 
for Paris. This force, which later became the National 
Guard of Paris, was at first to consist of two hundred 
volunteers from each of the city districts, or a total of 
1 2,000 men, but it was later increased to four times that 
number. The men were to choose their own officers, and 
were to be charged with the duty of maintaining order in 
the city, patrolling the streets night and day. This militia 
was formed, at least in part, that very day, and immedi- 
ately undertook the task of protecting the city. That night 
perfect order reigned throughout Paris, but it was the 
calm which precedes the storm. 

During the entire day of the thirteenth crowds had be- 
sieged the Hotel-de-Ville, demanding arms and ammuni- 
tion. They were put off with vague promises, and were 
told that guns and cartridges might be found at the 
Chartreux and the Arsenal. Two delegates went to the 
Invalides and told Besenval that arms were necessary to 



provide for the security of the city. He replied that he 
was awaiting orders from Versailles and told them to re- 
turn the next day. 

From daybreak on the 14. July the tocsin was ringing 
in every church tower. At seven o'clock a powerful mob 
rushed to the Invalides to demand the arms which had 
been tacitly promised by Besenval the previous day. The 
Hotel des Invalides had been built by Louis the Four- 
teenth in the Faubourg Saint-Germain between 1670 
and 1674. It was a large building of the regular style of 
architecture introduced by Mansart, and was designed for 
appearance rather than defence. It had been planned by 
Louvois, the famous Minister of War, and is one of 
his greatest monuments. He had been the first to form 
a standing armyj and he had established the Hotel des 
Invalides for old soldiers, and suggested the founding of 
the order of Saint-Louis for officers. At this time the 
Hotel was garrisoned by a few aged Invalides under the 
command of Comte de Sombreuil, a veteran officer. 

When the mob reached the Invalides the governor, 
Sombreuil, refused to surrender the arms, and stated that 
he was expecting at any moment the return of the 
courier who had been dispatched tp Versailles. The crowd 
refused to wait. They invaded the court, disarmed the 
sentinels, searched the Hotel, and took possession of 
32,000 guns concealed in the cellars. Besenval and his 
officers did not attempt to interfere j and Broglie made 
no reply to the urgent messages sent to Versailles. 

Meanwhile the people continued to look for arms. 
Following the indications given by Flesselles they went to 
the Chartreux, near the Luxembourg, and searched the 
convent, but found nothing. Having heard that large 
quantities of powder had been taken by the Swiss the 
previous night from the Arsenal and placed in the Bastille, 
the crowd then gathered at the gates of the fortress. 
The attack which followed was due entirely to chance, 
and was conducted without any preconceived plan or 

The Bastille was a monument of a very diflFerent char- 



A Enhance to f7u BaUQli, 
B . Outer Court. 

C . fhe Afsctinl Gate. 

D. rhe First DrnxviritlgeA 

E. The Caz'ernor'i CeurU 
P The CoverMor's Heuu. 

O. The Terrace, 

^The Setend Drnvhitff^i, 
K.TIieCtent Court, 
M Coutl'dit Puits." 
8. r/ie Outer l^a/t. 




acter from the Invalides. It did not commemorate the 
glories of the reign of the Roi Soleil, but rather the des- 
potism of his ancestors. It had been built during the 
reign of Charles the Fifth to defend the suburb which 
contained the royal palace of Saint-Paul, and was a fine 
type of the mediaeval castle. The city of Paris had since 
outgrown its ancient limits, and extensive suburbs had 
been built up without the gate which the fortress com- 
manded. But the Rue and the Faubourg Saint-Antoine 
were still dominated by the sombre mass of the Bastille, 
with its eight large towers, connected by massive walls 
ten feet thick, pierced with narrow slits by which the cells 
were lighted. The fortress was surrounded by wide and 
deep moats. By the gate on the Rue Saint-Antoine, one 
entered the outer court j then, by a drawbridge thrown 
over the moat, into the inner or Governor's Court. At 
the end of this court there was a stone bridge, with 
another drawbridge beyond, over a moat a hundred feet 
wide, and then the gates of the castle. 

Since the days of the Fronde, during the minority of 
Louis the Fourteenth, the Bastille had heard no sound 
of guns, and had been used only as a state prison. Most 
of the inmates had been confined under lettres de cachet. 
Perhaps the most celebrated in the long line of state 
prisoners was the " Man with the Iron Mask." More re- 
cently. General Lally had been beheaded within its walls 
for failing in India. At the present time it contained but 
seven nrisoners. The garrison was composed of eighty 
Invalides, and thirty Swiss of the regiment of Salis- 
Samade, under the command of M. de Launay, the gov- 
ernor of the castle. No attack had been expected, and 
there were only provisions for two days. 

Such was the history and the status of the Bastille, 
when on the 14 July a small mob from the suburbs, led 
by a few Gardes Frangaises, approached to ask for arms. 
The governor had been notified by Besenval that rein- 
forcements would be sent him, and he was directed to 
hold the fortress at all hazards. He had ordered the 
cannon loaded and run out on the walls. About ten o'clock 



two commissioners were sent from the H6tel-de-ViIle to 
see the governor. He received them very cordially, agreed 
to retire the guns, and invited them to dejeuner. In the 
meantime, the crowd, which had been allowed to enter 
freely the unguarded outer courts, began to get uneasy 
over the prolonged absence of the commissioners. Another 
envoy was sent, who found the two deputies at table with 
the governor. Launay had begun to be disturbed by the 
crowds around the Bastille, but he promised not to fire 
unless attacked. 

The Bastille did not stand entirely isolated j adjoining 
the wall of the inner court there was a shop. Two citizens 
mounted to the roof of this building, and from there suc- 
ceeded in reaching the Governor's Court, where they cut 
the chains of the drawbridge. As soon as it fell the mob 
rushed across, filled the inner court, and reached the stone 
bridge. But the Bastille was not yet taken, for the second 
drawbridge was up and the fortress was capable of strong 
defence. The mob had only penetrated the two courts, 
which could both be enfiladed by musketry fire, and 
were untenable. 

At this moment the first shot was fired — how and by 
whom it is now impossible to say. One account states that 
Launay fired three distinct shots as a signal that he re- 
fused to negotiate 5 another writer says that the governor 
ordered the Swiss to fire on the crowd in the court; and a 
witness of the scene, who was in the mob, asserts that 
after a moment the assailants caught sight of a few of 
the defenders and fired on them, and that the governor 
could only order his men to fire in reply. 

The crowd, which had not seen how the drawbridge was 
lowered, thought that it was done by orders of the gov- 
ernor, and that they had fallen into an ambush. All were 
convinced of the bad faith of Launay, and there was a 
universal cry for vengeance. 

At one o'clock a third delegation was sent from the 
Hotel-de-Ville to request Launay to admit a battalion 
of the new National Guard to garrison the castle, but 
the deputies were not able to reach the governor. A fourth 



delegation was then sent, headed by a drummer of the 
Gardes Frangaises, and bearing a white flag. This signal 
was seen, and some soldiers hoisted a white flag on one of 
the towers. Firing was suspended on both sides, and the 
delegation was admitted to the presence of the governor. 
The crowd was already beginning to retire from the inner 
court, when three men were killed and several wounded 
by a new fusillade from the towers. When this news was 
brought to the Hotel-de-Ville, there was an outburst of 
fury, and three hundred soldiers of the Gardes Frangaises 
at once marched to lay regular siege to the Bastille. It was 
now three o'clock. 

The troops were under the command of Hulin and 
£lie, both non-commissioned officers. Armed with four 
cannon taken that morning at the Invalides, they pene- 
trated the inner court, where the cannon were trained 
on the gates of the fortress. Then Launay offered to 
surrender, stating that if a formal capitulation were not 
accepted he would blow up the fortress and the quarter 
with twenty thousand pounds of powder. The terms were 
agreed to by £lie and the gates were opened. The mob 
and the troops rushed into the Great Court, seized 
Launay and his officers, and liberated the seven prisoners. 
It was now five o'clock. 

Then occurred the first of those uncontrollable out- 
bursts of popular fury which were to mark so many occa- 
sions during the Revolution. By the quays, Launay was 
dragged to the Hotel-de-Ville, insulted and assaulted at 
every step. Here he was massacred on the Place de Greve. 
Flesselles, the chief municipal officer of the city, who was 
accused of treason, was also slain as he was leaving the 

In the taking of the Bastille nearly one hundred of the 
assailants were killed and about seventy were wounded. 
The defenders, protected by the walls of the fortress, had 
but few casualties. This victory intoxicated the people of 
Paris, for it was a triumph of the masses in which the 
magistrates of the Hotel-de-Ville took little part. 

The night which followed was one of agony for the 



inhabitants of the city. The tocsin rang without ceasing j 
cannon thundered j windows were illuminated 5 and the 
patrols were doubled. It was said that the government 
troops were at the gates of the cityj but really the people 
had little to fear: the soldiers were retiring on Versailles, 
guarding the Pont de Sevres and the routes to the 

At Versailles, when the Assembly met for the second 
time at five o'clock, it received the news of the sack of the 
Invalides and of the siege of the Bastille. It was voted 
again to send a deputation to urge the King to withdraw 
the troops. The report of the fall of the fortress did not 
reach Versailles until late in the evening. The King, weary 
from the hunt, had retired at his usual hour, and was 
not awakened. At his lever the following morning the 
Due de Liancourt communicated to him the great news. 
" Why," said Louis, " this is a revolt! " " No, Sire," re- 
plied the Due, " it is a revolution! " 

No event in history has been more often misrepre- 
sented and more generally misunderstood than the taking 
of the Bastille. An enterprise which was one of pure 
brigandage has been hailed as a revolt of the good citi- 
zens of Paris against the despotism of the Crown. The 
act of a, mob of bandits has been transformed into a 
deed of heroes. The National Guard, organized to sup- 
press disorder, which took no part in the attack, has been 
given the credit of creating in France a new era of 

The Assembly was the author of the legend. All the 
blame was thrown on Launay. There was an outburst of 
indignation, not against the ruffians who had cut the un- 
fortunate governor to pieces, but against the governor 
himself. Admiration was expressed for the " order " and 
" wisdom " shown by the " populace in the taking of the 
Bastille." The misunderstanding then created was 
destined never to be cleared up, and to-day the anniver- 
sary of the fall of the Bastille is the " Fourth of July " 
of the French nation. 

The Assembly thought that the moment was propitious 



to obtain great concessions from the Government, and a 
deputation, with grandiloquent instructions froni Mira- 
beau, was just setting out when the Due de Liancourt 
announced the King. Louis entered without ceremony, 
accompanied only by his brothers. He begged the Assem- 
bly to aid him to reestablish order, and stated that he 
had commanded the troops to withdraw from the vicinity 
of Paris and Versailles. His announcement was warmly 
applauded by the deputies. The King then returned on 
foot to the Chateau, escorted by a large part of the As- 
sembly, and cheered by the happy people. 

Nevertheless, the King and the Court were far from 
being willing to accept the situation. That night Louis 
and Marie-Antoinette seriously considered the plan of 
leaving Versailles with the troops and taking refuge at 
Metz. But at a Council held at six o'clock in the morning 
Marechal de Broglie opposed the project, saying, " Yes, 
we may go to Metz, but what are we going to do when 
we get there? " The King was afterwards bitterly to regret 
this lost opportunity to escape. Having decided to remain, 
there was nothing to do except to recall Necker, and the 
King copied the draft of a letter prepared by the Comte 
de Provence. 

With the departure of the troops began the " first emi- 
gration." Comte d'Artois and the Prince de Conde set off 
with their children. The Due and Duchesse de Polignac, 
their daughter, the Duchesse de Guiche, and the Due's 
sister, Comtesse Diane de Polignac j the Princes de Conti 
and Lambescj Marechal de Broglie, Barentin, and Bre- 
teuilj and many nobles and bishops, and officers attached 
to the Court, left the same night. 

The day after the fall of the Bastille, Paris received a 
formal visit from a large delegation of the Assembly, 
who were greeted with enthusiasm. The electors, at the 
Hotel-de-Ville, by acclamation named Bailly mayor of 
Paris and La Fayette commanding general of the National 
Guard. A Te Deum was chanted at Notre-Dame. 

On the 17 July, after the recall of Necker, the King 
himself went to Paris, escorted only by a few officers and 



a small body-guard. On his arrival at the gates of the 
city at three o'clock, he was received by Bailly and the 
corps municipal. In handing the King the keys of the 
city, Bailly recalled the entry of Henri Quatre: " He had 
reconquered his people j now, the people have recon- 
quered their King." Finally the procession arrived at the 
Hotel-de-Ville, where the mayor presented to the King 
a red and blue cockade, the colors of the city. The King 
placed this bicolored badge on his own white cockade, 
and this may have been the origin of the national emblem 
of France, although there are many other theories on the 

The King formally approved the establishment of the 
National Guard and the appointment of La Fayette as 
its commander 3 also the selection of Bailly for the new 
office of mayor of the city. In response to the calls of the 
crowd massed around the building, he appeared at the 
window, and was loudly acclaimed. He then returned to 
Versailles, ignorant of the fact that he had that day 
established two powers which were to overthrow his 
throne ! 

The real hero of the day was a young Irishman by the 
name of Lally-Tollendal. It was he who beguiled the 
unwilling King into the recognition of a free municipality 
of Paris, of the nomination of Bailly as first mayor of 
Paris, and of La Fayette as commandant of the National 
Guard. In her " Recollections," Madame de La Tour du 
Pin tells the story of his origin, which is very interesting: 

His great-grandfather, Gerard Lally, was a poor little 
Irish gentleman who took the side of James the Second. 
He was a very handsome and attractive lad, and as the 
result of a liaison with the daughter of Lord Dillon a 
son was born. This natural son of Gerard Lally dis- 
tinguished himself during the troubles and wars of James 
the Second, who made him a baronet and permitted him 
to recruit troops on the Dillon estate. He accompanied 
James the Second to France and died at Saint-Germain. 
He never was married, but he also left a natural son by a 



lady of Normandie, and this boy became the General 
Lally who was condemned to death, and executed at the 
Bastille in 1766. General Lally entered the French army 
at the age of seventeen and distinguished himself in all 
the wars of Louis the Fifteenth. After winning the battle 
of Fontenoy with the Irish brigade, he was sent to India. 
There, from lack of money and of reenforcements, he 
failed to reestablish the French power, and on his re- 
turn to France was accused of neglect of duty and 

This General Lally, before going to India, had had an 
intrigue amoureuse with a Comtesse de Maulde, the wife 
of a Flemish lord of the environs of Arras or of Saint- 
Omer. The result of this liaison was the birth of Tro- 
phime-Gerard, Comte de Lally-Tollendal. The son only 
learned his father's name the day after the execution of 
General Lally, and he spent the years of his early man- 
hood in striving to obtain the reversal of the sentence 
which had condemned his father as a traitor. In all his 
efforts he was opposed before the Parlements of Paris, 
Rouen, and Dijon, by Espremenil, and this caused a 
great deal of ill-feeling between the two men. His elo- 
quence finally proved successful, and the sentence was 
reversed in 1778. In collecting evidence in favor of his 
father, he had spent much time in England, where he 
made the acquaintance of Pitt and Burke and imbibed a 
sincere admiration for the English constitution. 

He was elected to the States-General by the Noblesse 
of Paris. In the chamber of the Noblesse at Versailles 
he had taken a seat by the side of the Comte de Clermont- 
Tonnerre, and had accompanied him, with the rest of the 
minority of the Noblesse, to the National Assembly on 
the 25 June. 

General Lally married a French lady of noble family, 
from whom his son, who was legitimatized, inherited his 

When the electors on the 13 July issued orders for the 
enrollment of two hundred men in each district, to patrol 




the streets and maintain order, there was no thought of 
the organization of a permanent civic guard. But on the 
day the King visited Paris this temporary force was 
changed with his tacit approval into a powerful National 
Guard with La Fayette at its head. Now La Fayette had 
very different ideas regarding the new force, and he 
proceeded to carry them out. It certainly was not neces- 
sary to have an army of 60,000 men to maintain order in 
Paris, but that was the number of men which La Fayette 
wished to organize. His plan also was eventually to com- 
bine into one great organization all of the National Guards 
of France, and in this way to support the reformers in 
the Assembly. He also desired that this formidable armed 
force should be recruited from one class only — the bour- 
geoisie. He had no sympathy with the lower classes. By 
birth and education he was an aristocrat. 

Gilbert-Mottier, Marquis de La Fayette, was de- 
scended from one of the oldest families in France. He 
was born at the chateau of Chavagnac in Auvergne, on the 
6 September 1757. While still at school in Paris he entered 
the Mousquetaires, and the following year, when only 
fourteen, he married a granddaughter of the Marechal- 
Duc de Noailles. In 1773 he inherited an income of 
125,000 francs a year from his grandfather. He was in 
garrison at Metz when he heard of the revolt of the 
American colonies, and decided to offer them his sword. 
He was very cordially received by Washington, who made 
him a major-general when he was only twenty years of 
age. If he had not been vain by nature, the reception 
he received in America might easily have turned his head. 
Washington was anxious to secure the aid of France, and 
he took every occasion to couple La Fayette's name with 
his own, so that the young Frenchman gained almost as 
much renown, not only in America but also in France, as 
the immortal Washington himself. When he returned to 
France at the conclusion of the war he found himself re- 
garded as a great soldier, and his conceit was almost 

In the convocation of the States-General, La Fayette 

\ [93] 


saw his opportunity to become " the liberator of both 
worlds," but to his surprise and disgust he did not find 
himself so prominent as he expected. In the Assembly he 
was outshone by Mirabeau, whom he thoroughly disliked. 
This feeling of jealousy was later to prevent a coopera- 
tion with the great tribune which might have saved the 

Now on the 17 July came his great opportunity, and 
he hoped to win for himself the highest power in France. 
Although he was disliked and distrusted by the Queen, 
he probably never wished to found a republic, but had a 
vague idea that he would like a limited monarchy with 
himself as mayor of the palace. " Had he been able," 
says Mr. H. Morse Stephens, " to think of France, or of 
Paris, before himself and his own glory, he might have 
obtained as great fame as George Washington did in 
America. No man with such great opportunities used 
them so illj while of Mirabeau, his rival, it may be said 
that no one with so few opportunities used them so well." 




War on the Chateaux — Disorders at Paris — Action of the Assembly 
— The Great Renunciation — Debate on the Constitution — 
The Veto — The Court Plans a Counter-Revolution — Banquet 
of the Body-Guard — Excitement at Paris — The Mob Marches 
on Versailles — Preparations of the Court — The Assembly — 
Indecision of the King — Plans for Flight — Arrival of La 
Fayette — Attack on the Palace — Madame Campan's Story — 
The King Goes to Paris — Close of the Second Period of the 
Revolution — Retirement of Mounier 

THE Storming of the Bastille was immediately fol- 
lowed by an outbreak of violence all over France. 
Taine calls it, " Panarchie spontanee "5 but it was 
not a spontaneous anarchy: it was an anarchy which was 
encouraged, and in some cases incited, by the actions of 
the National Assembly. 

In the cities, municipal governments and national 
guards were everywhere created in imitation of Paris. 
In the rural districts, the peasants, impatient at the delay 
in abolishing feudal dues, took the matter in their own 
hands. They turned upon their oppressors 5 seized and 
destroyed the records, and not infrequently burned the 
chateaux with the odious documents. During the final 
weeks of July this destructive process was carried on 
everywhere, with scenes of excess and disorder. In this 
way, feudalism was everywhere abolished — not legally 
but practically. 

But Paris continued to be the great centre of disturb- 
ance. Said Bailly: " Everybody knew how to command, 
and nobody knew how to obey." The new National Guard 
failed to keep any kind of order. Foulon and Bertier were 



executed in the public squares of the city. Foulon had 
been made a member of the new ministry appointed after 
the dismissal of Necker. He had been abominably 
slandered by those who attributed to him the horrible 
remark, "If the people have no bread, let them eat 
hay." He was arrested at Viry and brought to Paris on 
the 22 July. La Fayette tried in vain to save him. The 
doors of the Hotel-de-Ville were broken in, and the victim 
was tortured in a terrible manner. Then his son-in-law 
Bertier was hacked to pieces, for the crime of having done 
his duty, in serving gunpowder to the royal troops on 
the eve of the fourteenth. 

The news of these murders filled the Assembly with 
dismay. It was decided to strengthen the hands of Bailly 
with a legally elected municipality, instead of the body 
of electors, and La Fayette was directed to take measures 
to prevent such outbreaks in the future. He ordered the 
gates of the Palais-Royal, the centre of all disturbances, 
closed at sunset, and some appearance of order was 

With the exception of Mirabeau, the members of the 
Assembly do not seem to have recognized the gravity of 
these occurrences. While chateaux were burning all over 
France, and nobles flying into exile, the Assembly was 
debating whether or not the new Constitution should be 
prefaced with a Declaration of the Rights of Men! The 
members were a lot of theorists who did not understand 
what practical legislation meant. 

From these dreams the Assembly was rudely awakened 
on the fourth of August when a report was read on the 
state of France. A decree was drafted, intended "to 
calm the provinces." Then at eight o'clock, as the session 
was about to close, the young Vicomte de Noailles, a 
cousin of La Fayette, began to speak. He said that if 
chateaux were burning here and there 5 if there was riot- 
ing everywhere, and nowhere peace, it was due to the 
seignorial rights and dues: the feudal system must be 
swept away! Nobody stopped to think that this "Jean 
sans Terre," this ruined man, a son of a younger branch 



of a noble family, had no authority to speak for the 
grands seigneurs of France. The Due d'Aiguillon, not to 
be outdone by this penniless nobleman, supported the 

A wave of wild generosity swept over the Assembly. 
One after another the young liberal noblemen followed 
with offers of fresh sacrifices. One after another, all the 
old feudal rights were abolished. Amidst universal ap- 
plause, " every man generously gave away what he did 
not own." In the words of Mirabeau it was a night of 
orgie. Many a noble family was ruined by this " great 
renunciation," as it was called, and some never recovered 
from this blow to their fortunes. 

By eight o'clock the next morning some thirty decrees 
had been adopted, putting into effect the most extraordi- 
nary social reforms any nation has ever known. Then the 
deputies proceeded to the Palace Chapel, where a Te 
Deufn was sung! 

The deputies, however, were mistaken if they thought 
that the people, touched by so much generosity, would 
settle down quietly, and cease rioting. The rural mind 
failed to understand why the hated taxes, which were all 
abolished, were still to be levied until new arrangements 
were made. The peasants could not get it through their 
heads that a revenue was still necessary for national pur- 
poses, even rf the feudal duties were abrogated. 

During the month of August and a part of September 
the deputies continued to discuss the Constitution and the 
Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the debates were 
long and violent. The committee on the Constitution, of 
which the principal members were Mounier, Talleyrand 
and Sieyes, recommended that the new Assembly should 
have two chambers the same as England. On the 1 1 Sep- 
tember this proposition was rejected by 849 to 89. 
Mounier contemplated resigning, but was propitiated by 
being elected president of the Assembly on the 28 Sep- 
tember. The presidents of the Constituent Assembly were 
elected by the absolute majority every fortnight, and were 
eligible for reelection. 

[ 97 ] 


Another question which caused much more trouble was 
that of the king's veto. This was advocated by Mirabeau 
with all his influence, and would probably have been 
adopted except for the stupid interference of Necker. In 
place of the absolute veto, a " suspensive veto " was 
proposed by La Fayette. Under this plan a law would 
go into effect, in spite of the king's veto, if passed again 
at the end of six months. This ridiculous compromise 
was adopted on the ii September by a vote of 684 to 


Veto was a new word for the Parisians, and nothing so 
excites the passions of a mob as words that it does not 
understand. The demagogues seized this opportunity to 
stir up the populace, and the indignation was great. Even 
the scarcity of food was attributed to the suspensory 

The Court took advantage of the agitation in Paris and 
the division in the Assembly to form new plans. The As- 
sembly was no longer popular and the Queen was think- 
ing seriously of a dissolution. She believed that the hour 
of reaction had come and that a counter-revolution was 
possible. The first plan was for the King to flee to Metz, 
to the midst of the Armyj there call around him the 
nobility, and the troops who continued loyal, and declare 
the Assembly and the City of Paris in a state of rebellion. 
This meant civil war, and Louis, with the memory of 
Charles the First constantly in his mind, refused to sanc- 
tion the proposal. 

It was then decided to summon troops to Versailles 
on the pretext of protecting the Court and the Assembly 
against the movements in Paris. The household guards 
were doubled, and the Flanders Regiment was ordered 
to Versailles. The ofiicers of this fine regiment, on their 
arrival, were feted at the Chateau, and were even re- 
ceived at the Queen's card tables. Everything was done 
to secure their devotion. On the first of October a banquet 
was given them by the King's Garde du Corps. 

The Guards requested that for this purpose they should 
be allowed to use the great theatre of the Chateau at 



the end of the gallery of the Chapel. This superb hall, 
which was reserved for only the most important fetes 
of the Court, could be converted into a ball-room by plac- 
ing over the parterre a floor on a level with the boxes. 
At the tables were seated alternately one of the Gardes 
du Corps and an officer of the Flanders Regiment. The 
theatre was handsomely decorated and brilliantly illumi- 
nated. The boxes were filled with spectators, and when the 
orchestra played the air, " O Richard! O mon roi! " the 
shouts of "Vive le Roi! " shook the roof. Toasts were 
drunk to the King and the royal family, and the enthusi- 
asm increased every moment. 

The Queen had wisely decided not to be present, and it 
would have been well if she had adhered to this resolu- 
tion. All at once it was announced that the King and 
Queen were coming to the banquet. The sovereigns 
appeared in a box, the King attired in hunting-dress, the 
Queen leaning on his arm, and carrying the little Dauphin, 
who was about four years of age. There followed a scene 
of wild enthusiasm: on all sides were heard praises of 
their Majesties, exclamations of affection, and shouts of 
" Vive le Roi! Vive la Reine! Vive le Dauphin! " 

It has been stated that the national colors were dis- 
carded and white cockades were substituted, but Madame 
Campan, who was present, denies that this was the case. 
Nevertheless there was a mixture of intoxication with 
these ebullitions of joy, and a thousand extravagances 
were committed. When the King left the theatre he was 
escorted to his apartments by all the officers present, and 
many of them danced under his windows, while the guests 
spread through the galleries of the Chateau. 

The news of the " orgy of Versailles " produced a great 
sensation in Paris. The agitators were delighted: here was 
the pretext they had been searching for the past month. 
During the three following days there were rumors of 
conspiracies, and counter-revolutions; and the indigna- 
tion against the Court was increased by the scarcity of 
food. On the fifth the insurrection broke out in a violent 
manner. By five o'clock in the morning 10,000 women 



were running riot. Their ranks were swelled by many 
men masquerading in female attire. An hour later this 
army was marching wildly on Versailles. Who would 
dare to fire on starving women? 

The mob had hardly started before the National Guard 
decided to follow. La Fayette at first refused, but the 
sentiment was too strong for him, and at four o'clock they 
set out. 

In the meantime, at Versailles, the Court was living in 
a fool's paradise. At ten o'clock in the morning the King 
had left to shoot in the woods of Meudon. The Queen 
was entirely alone in her gardens at the Trianon, which 
she then visited for the last time in her life. A note was 
sent to urge her to return to the Chateau, and at the 
same time a messenger was dispatched to request the King 
to leave his sport. The Flanders Regiment was ordered to 
occupy the Place d'Armes, and the Gardes du Corps 
saddled their horses. Couriers were also sent to call the 
Swiss from Courbevoie. There was no longer time to 
defend the bridge at Sevres, and in the absence of the 
King there was no one to give orders to resist the hostile 
demonstration. The gates everywhere were closed and all 
the outlets of the Chateau were barricaded. It was the 
first time that the doors of the palace had ever been 
closed. Finally, at about three o'clock, the King arrived 
very leisurely on horseback, by the Grande Avenue, and 
went to shut himself up in his apartment, without stopping 
to respond to the cheers from the troops which hailed his 

The Assembly, which had met at an early hour, had 
received the King's reply to the decrees, regarding the 
veto, and the organization of the legislative powers, which 
he refused to sanction except in part. There was an outcry 
of indignation from the Left, or party of extreme re- 
formers, and Mirabeau used the most violent language 
yet heard in the Assembly, declaring as he left the 
tribune that if necessary he would denounce the Queen 
herself. To avoid the impending scandal, Mounier was 
about to adjourn the sitting, when the women arrived 

[ 100 ] 


from Paris. They surged like a flood around the Menus- 
Plaisirs, and twenty of them were admitted to the hall. 
When the deputies promised to go to the King, and force 
him to grant his " sanction," the women cried " Your fine 
talk will not give us bread! Talk to us about bread! " 
They kept perpetually going back to this question of 

Giving up the chair to the Bishop of Langres, his 
predecessor, Mounier proceeded to the Chateau. He 
found the palace in a state of siege, and the ministers in 
a panic. The majority of the Council were in favor of 
using force to drive the mob back, but Louis said there 
could be no firing on women, and orders were issued not 
to serve out cartridges to the men. 

The King could not make up his mind to anything. To 
Mounier he at first refused his sanction, and then gave in 
and granted it. At eight o'clock, with tears in his eyes, he 
signed the paper and handed it to Mounier, who started 
at once for the Menus-Plaisirs, giving out the news 
as he went. 

As soon as Mounier had left the Chateau, preparations 
were made for the flight of the royal family, which had 
already been decided upon. At eleven o'clock the order 
was given to prepare the carriages for departure. No one 
seems to have thought that the mob would offer any oppo- 
sition, but the moment the crowd saw the doors of the 
stable opened they rushed in and cut the traces and led 
the horses back. Later in the night another plan was 
formed, but this was abandoned at the suggestion of 
Necker, who had arrived at the Palace. It was decided to 
await the coming of La Fayette, who was known to be 
on the way from Paris. 

At midnight the 30,000 troops of the National Guard 
finally began to appear, drenched from the rain and over- 
come with fatigue. Leaving his soldiers in the Avenue de 
Paris, near the assembly hall. La Fayette advanced to 
the Chateau and requested to speak with the King. Louis 
at once gave orders to have him come up. La Fayette, so 
worn out that he was hardly able to stand upright, 

[ loi ] 


ascended the Marble Staircase and passed through the 
CEil-de-Boeuf to the King's apartment. Very much 
moved, he said, " Sire, I thought that it was better to 
come here, to die at the feet of Your Majesty, rather 
than to perish uselessly on the Place de Greve." After 
a few gracious words, the King asked what the people 
wanted. La Fayette replied : " The people demand bread, 
and the Guard desire to take up their posts around Your 
Majesty." The King acquiesced, and the National Guard 
were assigned to the posts formerly occupied by the 
Gardes Frangaises outside the Palace, while the interior 
was guarded by the Swiss and the body-guard. 

The Assembly continued in session until three o'clock, 
when Mounier adjourned the meeting on the advice of 
La Fayette, who, after a visit to the Menus-Plaisirs, went 
to the Hotel de Noailles to pass the night. At this hour 
everything in the city seemed calm. The King dismissed 
all the persons who were still in his rooms and retired 
for the night. The Queen had gone to her own apart- 
ment at two o'clock. Tired out with the events of so 
distressing a day, she ordered her two women to go to 
bed, and retired. 

Let us examine with a well-informed cicerone. Mon- 
sieur Le Roi, the scene of the events about to take place. 

To-day, when the visitor has passed the large gate 
opening upon the Place d'Armes, he enters an immense 
court extending without interruption as far as the 
Chateau. Under the reign of Louis the Sixteenth, beyond 
this outer gate, there was another iron fence, placed 
between the two projecting wings of the palace, about 
where the equestrian statue of Louis the Fourteenth now 
stands. The space between these two railings was called 
the Cour des Ministres, on account of the dwellings on 
either side where the ministers lived. At that time, as 
to-day, there was a gate opening from this court on the 
Rue des Reservoirs, and another, on the Rue de la Surin- 
tendance (Rue Gambetta). 

Beyond the Cour des Ministres came the Cour Royale, 

[ 102] 


. S 

5 ;? ^ 


I W" ^ I = I ^ « I ^ § ^ 

I ^ 



1 ^^ 


0^ a -^ c« CO 4 to 



which extended to the small space between the buildings 
of the old chateau of Louis the Thirteenth, and bore, 
as at present, the name of the Cour de Marbre, on 
account of its pavement. 

We can now understand the measures of defence taken 
by La Fayette, and see how inadequate they were. All 
day long, on the fifth, the mob had gathered outside the 
gate to the Cour des Ministres, furious over this barrier 
opposed to their rage. This gate, so important to the 
defence of the Chateau, was protected only by two mem- 
bers of the National Guard j and the entrance from the 
Cour Royale to the Marble Staircase, which led to the 
royal apartments, was guarded also by only two Swiss 

At the top of this staircase, a landing leads on the 
left to the suite of the King: the guard-room, the 
CEil-de-Boeuf, the bedroom of Louis the Fourteenth, 
the Council Chamber, and finally, on the opposite side 
of the Cour de Marbre, to the private rooms occupied 
by Louis. 

At the right of the Marble Staircase, beyond the 
Grande Salle des Gardes, which faces the landing, is the 
suite of the Queen: the first antechamber, called also the 
Salon du Grand Couvert^ then the second antechamber, 
known as the Salon de la Reinej and finally the chambre 
a coucher of Marie-Antoinette. 

About six o'clock in the morning, just as the day was 
beginning to break, the mob tried to invade the Palace. 
They were armed with axes and sabres, and in some way 
had obtained a key to the outer gate which led to the 
Cour des Ministres from the Rue de la Surintendance. 
The crowd, which seemed to be guided by some one who 
knew the way, struck down the guards in the Cour 
Royale, mounted the grand stairway which led to the 
apartment of the Queen, and entered the guard-room. 
The only guard who was on duty there ran into the ante- 
chamber beyond and bolted the door. The mob followed 
and smashed the panels of the door. In the meantime 
the guard had rushed to the door of the Queen's bed- 



chamber, upon which he rapped loudly, at the same time 
crying: "Madame, save yourself! They are coming to 
kill you! " 

The Queen, without stopping to dress, fled by her 
cabinet de toilette to the CEil-de-Boeuf, to gain the 
chamber of the King, situated upon the opposite side of 
the Cour de Marbre. In the meantime the King had gone 
to her room by a secret passageway through the entresol, 
but finding she had fled he returned again to his own 
apartment, where he found his family reunited. 

In connection with the events of this night of the fifth 
of October there is a scandalous, but not very probable 
story about the Queen, which is mentioned here only 
because it has been given currency by many serious his- 
torians. O'Meara reports that Napoleon stated at Saint- 
Helena that Madame Campan had a very indiflferent 
opinion of Marie-Antoinette, and that she told him that 
a person well known for his attachment to the Queen 
came to see her at Versailles on the evening in question 
and remained all night. When the palace was stormed 
by the mob early on the following morning, Marie- 
Antoinette fled, undressed, from her own room to that 
of the King for shelter, and the lover descended from the 
window. When Madame Campan went to seek the Queen 
in her room, she found that Marie-Antoinette had 
escaped, but she discovered a garment which the favorite 
had left behind in his haste, and which she immediately 

The same story is told in the Memoirs of Lord Hol- 
land, on the authority of Talleyrand, who also said that 
he had it from Madame Campan. The editor of Madame 
Campan's book refers to the matter darkly in a note, and 
attempts in an ambiguous way to deny it. 

The report was very carefully investigated by Croker, 
who calls attention to the facts that the Queen's window 
was thirty feet from the ground, and that the palace 
was surrounded by a hostile mob, and then expresses his 
disbelief that the Queen should have dedicated such a 



night to a secret intrigue. But he weakens his argument 
by stating that there is no evidence that Fersen was at 
Versailles that night. He wrote before the publication of 
Fersen's letter to his father, under date of the 9 October 
1789, in which he states that he was a witness of the 
events of that terrible night, and returned to Paris in one 
of the royal carriages. 

At several points in the story of the Queen's life, 
Madame Campan displays a very superficial knowledge 
of events, but it is very remarkable that she never once 
mentions the name of Fersen. She certainly must have 
known of the deep attachment which existed between 
him and the Queen, but she chose to draw a veil over 
that episode. It is well known that Fersen made all the 
arrangements for the flight to Varennes and spent a 
large part of his fortune in the preparations, but even 
in this connection Madame Campan is silent. Yet she 
does not hesitate, although " with reluctance," to " enter 
very minutely on a defence of the Queen against two 
infamous accusations: . . . the unworthy suspicions of 
too strong an attachment for the Comte d'Artois, and of 
the motives for the close friendship which subsisted be- 
tween the Queen, the Princesse de Lamballe, and the 
Duchesse de Polignac." In the case of Fersen, however, 
she kept silent. 

A very credible explanation of this reticence of 
Madame Campan is given by Lord Acton. She wished 
to recover her position, which the fall of the Empire 
had ruined. Therefore some who had seen her manu- 
script have affirmed that she suppressed passages which 
were adverse to the Queen 5 for the same reason that, in 
the Fersen correspondence, certain expressions are omitted 
and replaced by suspicious asterisks. 

No evidence as to the truth of the allegation can be 
found in the letters of Fersen j unfortunately the careful 
diary which he kept from 1780-1791, and confided to 
Baron de Frantz when he left Paris, was burned by the 
latter for fear that it might be found in his keeping. 
So this story, like the legend of the " Man with the Iron 



Mask," will probably remain one of the minor mysteries 
of history, which will never be solved. 

At seven o'clock La Fayette finally appeared on the 
scene. He found the Chateau already occupied by the 
National Guards. The Marble Court was filled by the 
mob, who demanded the King and Queen. They ap- 
peared on the balcony, accompanied by La Fayette, and 
he addressed the crowd and promised that the King and 
Queen should return to Paris with them. 

At one o'clock the royal carriages left Versailles, 
escorted by La Fayette on his white horse, and followed 
by the National Guard, and the mob who were mad with 
joy. At the gates of the city the King was met by Bailly, 
and the procession then proceeded to the Hotel-de-Ville, 
where it arrived about eight o'clock. After listening to 
several addresses, the royal family appeared at the win- 
dows and were loudly applauded by the people. At ten 
o'clock they finally reached the Tuileries. 

The events of the fifth and sixth of October form a 
complement to those of the 14 July, and close the second 
period of the Revolution. Royalty was for the second 
time humiliated, and was forced to return to Paris after 
an absence of one hundred and twenty years. If the 
Assembly after the fall of the Bastille had established 
a strong constitution the events of these October days 
would never have taken place, but the deputies had 
wasted their time in useless debates. The King had spent 
his time as usual in hunting and the Revolution had 
followed its course. 

Louis was now a prisoner, but he was still loved by 
his people, and Paris was happy to have the royal family 
once more in its midst. It was still possible for the King 
to moderate the march of the Revolution: the game was 
not yet entirely lost. All depended upon his adroitness, 
and above all upon his courage. 

The October days were followed by a second panic 
for emigration. Many of the nobility retired to Brussels, 



or followed the Comte d'Artois to Turin. Most of them 
regarded the emigration as a pleasant foreign trip which 
would soon be over: none realized that it was to last for 
twenty-five years. 

At the same time Mounier resigned both his seat in 
the Assembly and the presidency j and Lally-Tollendal, 
and more than a score of the members of the Right, also 
resigned their seats. Thus ended the political career of 

Jean-Joseph Mounier was born at Grenoble in 1758. 
He was the son of a small shopkeeper, but his father 
was sufficiently prosperous to send him to college, and 
later to the university at Orange, where he took the 
degree of Bachelor of Law in 1776. Three years later 
he was admitted to the bar, and in 1783 purchased the 
office of juge royaly one of the two criminal judgeships 
of his province. He learned English and was a profound 
student of British institutions and legal practice. 

After resigning his seat in the Assembly, he returned to 
his native province. Here he made an attempt to arouse 
the provincial spirit of independence against the 
Assembly, but entirely failed. He tried to resume his 
life at Grenoble, but his fellow-citizens no longer honored 
and respected him. At last, in May 1790, after he had 
been several times insulted in the street, Mounier retired 
from his native country in disgust, and, after taking 
refuge for a time in Geneva, he eventually became tutor 
to the eldest son of Lord Hawke in England. 

No man had possessed so high a public reputation as 
Mounier or had done more for the cause of the Revo- 
lution, but he was essentially a theorist, and in the critical 
moment he failed. It is much to be regretted that so dis- 
tinguished a career should have ended at so early a period 
of the Revolution. His really great ability and moderation 
might have done much at a later date to control the 
excesses of the radicals. 





The Chateau of the Tuileries — Difficulty of Finding Rooms for the 
Royal Family — Return of Mme. de Lamballe — Life of the 
King and Queen — The Assembly Moves to Paris — The 
Manege — The Clubs — Appearance of Parties — The Right — 
Espremenil and MIrabeau-Tonneau — The Bishops — The Abbe 
Maury — The Left — The Triumvirate: Duport, Barnave and 
Lameth — The Centre — The Bishop of Autun — The Military 
Committee — Mirabeau and the Court — His Plan for a Minis- 
try Blocked by the Assembly 

ON the sixth of October the royal family slept in 
the Tuileries. Since the year 1665, this palace had 
not been inhabited by the kings of France j but it 
had not been empty, as erroneously stated by many 
historians. Thanks to the interesting researches of a recent 
writer we are able to obtain a vivid picture of the Tui- 
leries at this time. The old dwelling of the Valois kings 
had been gradually invaded and taken possession of by 
a population of the most heterogeneous kind. For over 
a century the former royal residence had been overrun 
by a motley crowd of poor nobles, ladies of quality in 
reduced circumstances, pensioners of the King, and 
various minor officials. At first, permission to dwell in 
the deserted palace had been given to a few minor 
attaches of the government whose duties compelled them 
to live in Paris, but gradually new applicants found 
admission, until every vacant space was occupied. The 
Chateau had in fact become a sort of ruin in which these 
queer birds of prey built their nests. Once inside the 
walls the residents had made havoc with the interior of 



the building, erecting partitions, making openings, build- 
ing stairways, and in general changing things at their 
pleasure. According to an official report of 1783 
they had made such alterations even in the royal apart- 
ments that it was impossible for the King to pass a night 

Such was the state of the Chateau on the morning of 
this October day when the architect received orders from 
Versailles to prepare the palace for the reception of the 
royal family that night. It was a herculean task, to 
which the cleaning of the Augean stables was a baga- 
telle j but it was duly accomplished. In spite of tears 
and protests, the tenants were unceremoniously evicted. 

It would be difficult even for those who remember 
the Tuileries as they appeared before their destruction 
by the Commune fifty years ago, to picture this his- 
torical palace as it was in 1789. On the side of the 
Carrousel, the palace was so concealed by private hotels, 
barracks, stables, and other buildings, that the passer-by 
could see, above the walls which enclosed the Cour 
Royale, only the high roofs of the three pavilions. 
These buildings were not removed, and the space between 
the palace and the Louvre cleared, until the reign of 
Napoleon the Third. 

Where the Gardens are now enclosed by the railing 
along the Rue de Rivoli, there was a terrace, and a high 
wall which bordered a long narrow alley, which was used 
for exercising horses. At the easterly end of this alley, 
near the Pavilion de Marsan, were the Royal Stables, 
the entry to which was in the Rue Saint-Honore, almost 
opposite the Church of Saint-Roch. At the other end was 
the Manege, or Riding School, which will be described 

On the line of the present arcades of the Rue de Rivoli 
were the unbroken walls which closed the gardens of the 
hotels on the Rue Saint-Honore. The large convents of 
the Feuillants, the Capuchins, and the Assumption, with 
their extensive gardens, occupied the space between the 
present streets of the 29-Juillet and Saint-Florentin. 



On the side of the Place Louis-Quinze, now the Place 
de la Concorde, high terraces and a turning bridge across 
a moat made the Tuileries Gardens inaccessible, and 
there was a wall on the south side which formed a barrier 
along the line of the quays as far as the Pavilion de 

The only entrances to the Gardens were by a narrow 
passage which ran between the buildings of the Feuil- 
lants and the Capuchins on the line of the present Rue 
de Castiglione, or by the small Rue du Dauphin, which 
opened from the Rue Saint-Honore, about opposite the 
Church of Saint-Roch. 

The historic palace of the Tuileries owed its origin 
to a caprice of that most superstitious of queens, Catherine 
de Medicis. Disgusted with the palace of the Tournelles, 
where her husband, Henri Deux, had died, she returned 
to the Louvre. Near this palace, on the future sites of 
the Carrousel, the Tuileries, and the Gardens, just out- 
side the city walls, there was then a manufactory of tiles 
(tuiles)y from which the name of the new palace was 
derived. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, a 
fine hotel had been erected on this site, which Francois 
Premier purchased for his mother, the Duchesse 
d'Angouleme. This hotel, and several adjoining proper- 
ties, were acquired by Catherine de Medicis, and upon 
the site she had constructed the Chateau of the Tuileries. 
The architects were Philibert Delorme and Jean BuUant, 
who made of the new palace one of the most beautiful 
examples of the French Renaissance. 

The palace, as first constructed, had not the vast pro- 
portions which it subsequently attained. Delorme erected 
the central Pavilion de PHorloge, and the two wings to 
the north and south, " le grand avant-corps du milieu,'' 
and BuUant built the two end pavilions, known as the 
Pavilions de Medicis. Under Henri Quatre the work 
was continued to the Pavilion de Flore, close to the site 
then occupied by the Porte-Neuve, on the city walls. At 
the same time the great galleries were constructed along 
the Seine, to connect the new palace with the Louvre. 



The space to the north of the Chateau was unoccupied, 
except by the detached buildings of the Royal Stables, 
until the reign of Louis Quatorze, who finished the work 
by building the north wing and the Pavilion de Marsan, 
which fronts on the present Rue de Rivoli. As finally 
completed, the palace was 1075 feet long and 69 feet 

To the east of the palace there were originally culti- 
vated fields, as far as the Rue Saint-Nicaise, now closed, 
which then extended to the river. 

To the west, on the site of the present Gardens, there 
was a vast pleasure -garden, containing a grove, a 
pond, an orangery 5 also stables, and dwellings for the 

Tn the fields bordering on the Rue Saint-Nicaise was 
located the " Jardin de Mademoiselle," so called because 
it had been planted by the daughter of Gaston d'Orleans, 
the " Grande Mademoiselle," who was a cousin of Louis 
the Fourteenth. In 1662, that monarch destroyed the 
garden, and gave on the site the famous fete of the 
Carrousel, from which the Place du Carrousel took its 

At this time, between the Carrousel and the Chateau, 
there were three large courts, which were separated from 
each other, and also from the Carrousel, by walls seven 
or eight feet high, with three portes-cocheres opening on 
the Place. The central court, before the Pavilion de 
PHorloge, was called the Cour Royale, and the courts 
to the south and north, the Cour des Princes and the 
Cour des Suisses, respectively. 

The central pavilion of the Chateau was entered by 
the grand vestibule, at the right of which the staircase 
of honor led to the large Salle des Cent-Suisses, subse- 
quently known, under the Empire, as the Salle des 
Marechaux, from the fourteen life-size portraits of the 
Marshals of France. This salon occupied all of the central 
pavillion, and connected the two wings of the palace. 

In the south wing, extending to the Pavilion de Flore, 
there was a suite of state apartments, all facing on the 




courts. Back of these apartments were two suites of 
private rooms, facing on the Gardens. 

In the north wing, between the central pavilion and 
that of Marsan, were located the Chapel, and the Salle 
des Machines, used as a theatre. 

The Gardens, to the west of the palace, were laid out 
by Le Notre, the celebrated landscape-architect who 
designed the gardens at Versailles. These gardens soon 
became the favorite rendez-vous and promenade of the 

At first thought it may seem strange that so wholesale 
a clearance should have been necessary in order to 
accommodate the royal family, but this surprise vanishes 
when we read the long list of the court attendants. They 
constituted a regular army. Even the hundreds of rooms 
in the palace were not sufficient to hold them all, and 
they overflowed into the buildings in the neighborhood. 
The display of so much pomp and ceremony before the 
unaccustomed eyes of the Parisians was just so much 
proof of the folly of the throne, and increased the hos- 
tility of the populace. 

The first night it was difficult to find beds even for 
the royal family. The persons of the suite were obliged 
to sleep on tables or benches. It took several days to 
render the palace even partially habitable. At first the 
Queen and her children slept in the same room, the latter 
on camp-beds. This chamber also served as a salon for 
Marie-Antoinette, and it was there that she received 
the visit of Madame de Stael, to whom we are indebted 
for this detail. 

Soon, however, the life at the Tuileries was better 
organized. The King took up his quarters on the first floor 
in the suite of Louis the Fourteenth, and Marie-Antoi- 
nette occupied the apartment in the rez-de-chaussee. The 
Dauphin was in the Pavilion de Flore, but a little later 
Louis took the two children with him. Small stairways 
were constructed to connect the two floors. 

After the emigration of the Duchesse de Polignac, 



Madame de Tourzel was appointed Governess of the 
royal children. From that time she shared all of the mis- 
fortunes of the family. 

The second week in October the Princesse de Lamballe 
appeared at the Chateau. She had returned from London 
through devotion to her friend. She was cordially 
received, and resumed her functions as superintendent, 
with a lodging in the Tuileries. The royal suite at this 
time, although not a tenth so large as formerly at Ver- 
sailles, comprised six physicians, surgeons and apothe- 
caries for the King J as many for the Queen j and the 
same number for the royal children, with other attend- 
ants and servants in the same ratio! 

The existence of Marie-Antoinette was sad and monot- 
onous. She took her dejeuner alone, and then received 
a visit from the King and her children. At one o'clock 
the family dined together, and afterwards the Queen 
played a game of billiards with the King, to give him a 
little exercise. They had supper together at eight-thirty 
and retired at eleven. When the weather was fine, the 
Queen took a walk in the Gardens. On Thursday and 
Sunday afternoons she held Court, and in the evening 
attended the " jeu du Roi." After a few weeks La 
Fayette requested the King and Queen to go out occa- 
sionally in the city, to show that they were not prisoners 
in the Tuileries. 

The Princesse de Lamballe gave in her apartments 
some brilliant parties, which were largely attended. 
Marie- Antoinette was present on a few occasions j but 
later she remained at home. 

All the nobility who had not left Paris made a point 
of paying their respects to the King, and called frequently 
at the Chateau. 

In the meantime, the Assembly at Versailles was 
hesitating as to what course to pursue. On the 6 
October the members had passed an act declaring the 
"King and the National Assembly inseparable during 
the session," but the deputies were in fear of Paris. The 



city authorities having given the assurance that order 
was reestablished, on the 12 October the Assembly 
finally decided to transfer its place of meeting to the 

During the last days at Versailles, the deputies passed 
a decree abolishing the old title of "King of France 
and Navarre," and substituting for it the style of " King 
of the French." Some members proposed a still more 
radical change: "Louis the First, Emperor of the 
French." These were men ahead of their times, who 
were to wait nfteen years before they heard this glorious 
title borne by a man very different from "Louis the 

On the 19 October, in the midst of a great deployment 
of troops, the Assembly entered Paris, and took posses- 
sion of the hall of the palace of the Archbishop, near 
Notre-Dame. Three weeks later, in consequence of the 
fall of one of the galleries, it moved on the 9 November 
to the Manege, which had been hastily prepared for its 

The Manege was one of the four royal riding-schools 
built by Louis the Fourteenth for the instruction of the 
young nobility. It was an oblong building, about 240 
feet in length by 60 feet in width, and was situated just 
east of the site of the present Hotel Continental. It stood 
on no main street, and could only be reached by the 
narrow passage of the Feuillants, or the long alley from 
the Royal Stables, already described. It was about as 
unsuitable a place for the purpose as could well have been 
selected. It consisted only of one long narrow hall, so 
that the committee-rooms and library had to be estab- 
lished in the neighboring convent of the Feuillants. Next 
to the Manege on the east, and bordering the Tuileries 
Gardens, stretched the broad Terrasse des Feuillants, 
which soon became the regular meeting-place of the 
deputies, and played a part somewhat similar to the 
terrace of the English House of Commons in our own 

When the alterations were completed it was found 



that the hall was much better adapted for debating than 
the Menus-Plaisirs at Versailles, but the management of 
the three large galleries was a source of trouble from 
the first. All Paris crowded the benches and took the 
keenest interest in the proceedings, applauding or hissing 
the speakers at will. In time this had a profound effect 
on the course of the Revolution. Orators with radical 
tendencies were encouraged to play more and more to 
the galleries, and the deputies of more moderate views 
were intimidated by the fear of mob violence. 

Close to the hall of the Manege, upon a site where 
later was built the Saint-Honore market, the Jacobins 
held their tumultuous meetings, in the ancient monastery 
founded in 1611 by the Jacobin or Dominican monks. 
The club had three sessions a week, which commenced 
at seven o'clock in the evening. The hall was rectangular 
in shape, with four rows of seats on the long sides, and 
tribunes for the public at the ends. In the middle of the 
hall were placed face to face the rostrum and the desk 
of the president. By the month of April 1791, there were 
affiliated clubs of the Jacobins in two thousand cities and 
towns of France. 

Not far from the Jacobin Club there met for a short 
time, in the monastery of the Feuillants, Rue Saint- 
Honore, the club of the moderate Revolutionists, the 
friends of La Fayette. But this new club did not have 
a great success: moderation was not the order of the 
day; and the last of December 1791, the doors of the 
club were closed. 

At the other end of Paris, on the south side, there 
was a club even more ardent than that of the Jacobins: 
the Cordeliers. The Cordeliers were nearly all members 
of the club of the Jacobins, while very few of the 
Jacobins belonged to the other club. The chief members 
were Danton, Marat, and Hebert. The place of their 
meetings was the former monastery of the Cordeliers, 
upon the Place de P6cole-de-Medecine, not far from 
the Luxembourg. The Cordeliers took their name from 
the religious democrats of the order of the minor brothers 



of Saint-Frangois, who wore, with a garment of coarse 
gray cloth, a girdle of cords. 

During the debates on the veto at Versailles, parties 
began to appear in the Assembly, and at Paris they 
became yet more clearly defined. To use the modern 
French terms, there was the Right, composed of the 
moderate supporters of the monarchy, and the extreme 
Right, made up of devoted royalists. On the opposite 
side of the chamber were the Left and the extreme Left, 
consisting of moderate and radical reformers. 

The extreme Right, which devoted itself mainly to 
the task of obstruction, was headed by Espremenil, and 
the Vicomte de Mirabeau, a younger brother of the great 

Espremenil was born in 1746 at Pondicherry, the 
capital of the French East Indies. He inherited a large 
fortune, and after gaining some reputation as an avocat, 
he purchased the office of a counsellor in the Parlement 
of Paris. He drew up the report on the sad affair of 
General de Lally, who was executed in the Bastille in 
1766, and violently opposed all the efforts of his son, 
Lally-Tollendal, to rehabilitate the memory of his 
father. In consequence, a profound hatred had arisen 
between the two men. He was most active in the affair 
of the diamond necklace, and commented freely on the 
conduct of the Queen, which did not increase his popu- 
larity at Court. He was elected a delegate to the States- 
General by the Noblesse of Paris, and in the month of 
May at once took the lead of the conservative element. 
He did not enter the National Assembly until the 27 
June, and then became the leader of the section opposed 
to all reform. His personal reputation was bad, and he 
was disliked by the courtiers, who submitted with reluc- 
tance to his leadership. 

A politician of a very different type was Louis- Auguste 
Riqueti, Vicomte de Mirabeau, who was commonly 
known as " Mirabeau-Tonneau," or " Barrel-Mirabeau," 
from his figure, and his capacity for containing liquor. 



Like most of the young nobles, he had entered the 
army, and had served with distinction in America, where 
he was one of the French officers selected by Washington 
for the Society of the Cincinnati. He had been elected 
deputy by the Noblesse of the province of Limou- 
sin, where his mother held large estates. He was very 
jealous of his brother's reputation as an orator, and 
tried to rival him, but had little success except as a 
chronic obstructionist and waster of the time of the 

Of far more importance than the small body of nobles 
and courtiers led by these two men was the compact 
body of nearly one hundred bishops, who sat with the 
extreme Right, in the belief that the Church was in as 
great danger as the Monarchy. Their leader was the 
learned and accomplished Archbishop of Aix. He was 
a politician as well as a scholar, and was in every respect 
superior to the ordinary French prelate. While he sup- 
ported the prerogatives of the King and of the Church, 
he was too wise to put himself in opposition to the 
majority of the Assembly, and he therefore voted on 
the fourth of August in favor of abolishing the feudal 

On the Right, as opposed to the extreme Right, sat the 
ablest supporters of the Monarchy. The leaders of this 
section were Malouet, Maury, and Lally-ToUendal. 

Malouet was the only son of a minor official of a little 
village in Auvergne, where he was bom in 1740. In 1762 
he entered the colonial service and lived several years in 
the West Indies. On his way home in 1778 he wa5 
captured by a British cruiser, and spent a year as a prisoner 
of war in England, during which time he had an oppor- 
tunity of studying English institutions. 

Maury was one of the best debaters in the Assembly. 
He was the son of a Huguenot, and was born near Avig- 
non in 1746. He was educated at the Jesuit College in that 
city, where he took orders. At the age of twenty he went 
to Paris, where his success was so great that he became 
the most popular preacher in the city. He made a 



specialty of pulpit oratory, and hoped, notwithstanding 
his humble birth, to rise to high dignity in the Church. 
He was elected to the States-General by the Clergy, and 
his eloquence and wit made him popular in the Assembly, 
although as an orator he cannot be compared with Mira- 
beau or Barnave. 

The great party of the Left, although not much 
stronger numerically, contained a larger number of influ- 
ential men. Among them may be noted a group of 
liberal grands seigneurSy such as La Rochefoucauld and 
Liancourt. Here also sat the Abbe Gregoire, the leader 
of the cures. All of these leaders were agreed on a policy 
of overthrowing the present system of government, and 
establishing one on more liberal lines j and they owed 
their influence to their power of carrying the votes of 
the Centre. 

The extreme Left consisted of a small body of men 
who were in favor of establishing a real democratic form 
of government. Here were to be found nearly all the 
leaders whose names became famous during the Revo- 
lution: among them Maxmilien Robespierre, deputy for 
Artois, Merlin of Douai, Prieur of the Marne and 

With the Left sat a small group of young nobles who 
were led by the " triumvirate ": Duport, Barnave, and 
Charles de Lameth. To them adhered all the young 
nobles who had served in America, notably Alexandre 
de Beauharnais, the husband of Josephine 3 Alexandre 
de Lameth, a brother of Charles j Vicomte de Noailles, 
a cousin of La Fayette; and the young Prince de 

Of the triumvirate which directed the policy of the 
Left during the first eighteen months that the Assembly 
was at Paris, it was said that Duport was the brain, 
Barnave the tongue, and Lameth the hand. 

Adrien Duport was perhaps the ablest party leader 
who appeared during the Revolution. He had a real 
knowledge of men, and social qualities which enabled 
him to make and keep friends. He was born in Paris, of 



a legal family, and was only thirty years of age when, 
through the influence of the Due d'Orleans, he was 
elected to the States-General by the Noblesse of Paris. 
He was the first to suggest to Orleans the idea of be- 
coming a constitutional king, and he expected to be prime 
minister under the new regime j but he soon found that 
his patron was not to be depended upon, and he used his 
little party for his own advancement. He acted entirely 
from selfish motives and gained no permanent political 
success. Danton saved his life by releasing him from 
arrest just before the September Massacres, and he 
emigrated. He returned after the fall of Robespierre, 
but was once more sent into exile by the coup d'etat 
of Fructidor and died in Switzerland the following 

Barnave was two years younger even than Duport. 
He was the son of a wealthy avocat of Grenoble, where 
he was born in 1761. He became a member of the bar in 
1782, and was elected to the States-General from Dau- 
phine as a disciple of Mounier. At Versailles he soon 
abandoned his former leader and formed a close friend- 
ship with Duport. He was at first very strong in his 
opposition to the Court, but conceived a violent admira- 
tion for Marie-Antoinette during the return from 
Varennes, and this led to his death on the scaffold in 
November 1793. 

Comte Charles de Lameth was the third son of the 
Marquis, and a nephew of Marechal de Broglie, through 
whose influence he and his brothers were rapidly advanced 
in the army. He served with Rochambeau in America, 
and was wounded at Yorktown. On his return he was 
made colonel of the Cuirassiers du Roi, and married a 
rich heiress. He was elected to the States-General by the 
Noblesse of Artois. At Versailles he fell under the 
influence of Duport, and violently attacked the Court, 
in spite of the many favors he had received from the 
King and Queen. 

But it would be a mistake to suppose that all, or nearly 
all, of the members of the Assembly belonged to one of 



the parties outlined above. Probably a majority of the 
deputies were not affiliated with any of these groups, and 
constituted what may be called the Centre. These men 
had no fixed views, and voted according to their con- 
victions on the different questions as they came up. It 
was the decisive vote of this group which every orator 
sought to gain. Although it had no leaders, the Centre 
contained many able men. Among them may be men- 
tioned Barere, who was so bitterly attacked by Macaulay 
in one of his brilliant essays. 

At Paris, the Right and Left became more fully 
organized under their chiefs, and the Centre continued 
to hold the balance of power. To avoid frequently con- 
tested elections it was agreed that the president of the 
Assembly should be chosen alternately from the deputies 
of the Right and Left. 

At this time a little cripple in clerical dress began to 
attract attention. He sat on the Left, although by birth 
and profession he belonged on the other side. This was 
Talleyrand, Bishop of Autun. 

Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord was born at 
Paris on the 13 February 1754, of one of the oldest 
families in France. He was the eldest son of the Prince 
de Talleyrand-Perigord, but on account of an accident 
in his infancy, which made him lame for life, his father 
decided to make him a priest, and to give the titles and 
wealth of the family to a younger son. He took orders 
when very young, and the wit of the " little Abbe " made 
him very popular at the Court of Versailles. When Mar- 
boeuf was transferred to the diocese of Lyon, the Abbe 
de Perigord, as he was then known, was nominated for 
Bishop of Autun J but the King, offended by his repu- 
tation for gallantry, refused to confirm the appointment. 
However, the King finally yielded to the dying request 
of the father of the Abbe, and in 1788 he was conse- 
crated. He did not have much time to show his qualities 
as a bishop, but he made himself very popular with all 
classes in Autun, and was almost unanimously elected to 

[ 121 ] 


the States-General. At Versailles he became intimate with 
Mirabeau, and was made a member of the committee on 
the new constitution, where he sided with Sieyes in 
opposition to Mounier. 

With the view of putting a stop to the state of anarchy 
in the army, the Assembly decided on the 30 September 
1789 to elect a military committee of twelve, which 
should draw up, with the Minister of War, the Marquis 
de La Tour du Pin, a new military constitution. On the 
19 November the new committee reported in favor of 
continuing the system of voluntary enlistment for the 
army, and on the 12 December the Minister of War 
accepted the report. 

It was then that Dubois de Crance rose, and protested 
against this measure in a vigorous speech, in which he 
advocated the principle of conscription as the only pos- 
sible means of securing a truly national army. 

Dubois de Crance, the man who first conceived this 
idea, which has changed the face of Europe, came of a 
good bourgeois family in Champagne, and was born at 
Charleville, on the 17 October 1747. Through the 
influence of an uncle, before completing his fifteenth 
year he entered the Gray Mousquetaires, one of the 
noble corps in the Maison du Roi, and remained in this 
troop until its suppression by Saint-Germain in 1775. 
Among his companions were Alexandre de Beauharnais, 
and Grave, the future Minister of War. In 1764 he 
inherited a fine estate from his father, with an income 
of 80,000 livres, and in 1772 he married an heiress. 
Three years later, on the suppression of the Mousque- 
taires, he retired to his estate and led the life of a country 
gentleman. In 1789 he was chosen a deputy to the States- 
General by the Third Estate of Vitry-le-Frangais. He 
was elected a member of the financial and military com- 
mittees, and also secretary of the Assembly. But in his 
proposition regarding conscription he was before his 
time, and it was not until the days of the Convention, 
when France had become a republic, that he could carry 
out his ideas. 

[ 122] 


In order to understand the course of aflFairs during 
the closing months of this eventful year, it is necessary to 
speak of Mirabeau's attitude towards the Court. As early 
as the end of May, he had sought an interview with 
Necker, but nothing came of the conference except mutual 
dislike. He owed his first opportunity of being useful 
to the Court to the Comte de La Marck, a member of 
the old Flemish family of Aremberg. La Marck was a 
warm friend of Marie-Antoinette, but, unlike Esterhazy 
and Fersen, had never been accused of any liaison with 
her. He had met Mirabeau the previous year, and their 
acquaintance had ripened into friendship. When he be- 
came more intimate with the statesman he urged the 
Queen to make an ejHFort to attract Mirabeau to the side 
of the Court, and was finally authorized to request 
Mirabeau to draw up a memorandum for the guidance of 
the King. This was in October, just after the Assembly 
decided to move to Paris. In two days the paper was 
prepared and presented. 

In this remarkable state paper, which must ever 
remain a monument to the genius of Mirabeau, he urged 
the King to ratify all that had yet been done by the 
Assembly, as an integral part of the new Constitution j 
but the initiative for the future must come from the 
King and not from the deputies. He then proceeds to 
show that the only way to accomplish this is by the 
formation of a responsible ministry, on the English 
pattern, from the leading members of the Assembly. 

Furthermore, since the King was really a prisoner of 
the Paris mob, which also overawed the Assembly, the 
seat of government should be transferred to some provin- 
cial capital, like Rouen, and the Assembly summoned 

In another note to the King, a few days later, Mirabeau 
suggested the names of the first ministry. In spite of 
his rebuffs by Necker and La Fayette, he proposed that 
the former should be Prime Minister, and that the latter 
should be made Marshal of France and generalissimo. 
For the other ministers he named Liancourt (War), La 



Rochefoucauld (Interior), La Marck (Navy), Segur 
(Foreign AflFairs), and Talleyrand (Finance). Mirabeau 
himself was to be minister without a portfolio, and to 
assume the management of the Assembly. 

Later he proposed a second slate, which proved equally 
impracticable. Poor Louis could no more comprehend 
such ideas than, in the words of his brother, Provence, 
oiled billiard balls could be held together! Marie- 
Antoinette, for her part, detested Mirabeau, and would 
have no compromise with the Assembly. 

Nevertheless, Mirabeau might have carried his point, 
but for the short-sighted jealousy of other deputies. On 
the seventh of November a motion was made and carried 
that it be declared illegal for any member to take office 
under the Crown while he held his seat in the Assembly, 
or for six months after his resignation. With this decree 
vanished all hope of securing for the present a new and 
strong government for France. A few days later La 
Marck left Paris to join his regiment, and the communi- 
cation with the Court was temporarily cut oflF. 

[124 J 



The Constitution Enacted — The New Departments — The Favras 
Affair — The King Visits the Assembly — The Court at Saint- 
Cloud — Cazotte's Prophecy — Apathy of the Noblesse — The 
Church Property — The Assignats — Fete of the Federation — 
Split in the Revolutionary Party — Mirabeau and La Fayette — 
Mercy and La Marck — Mirabeau Retained by the Court — 
Change in His Mode of Life — His Interview with the Queen 

— His Plan of Action — Rejected by the Court — Schemes for 
Foreign Intervention — Recall of Orleans — Death of Mirabeau 

— His Character and Career. 

AMIDST all these intrigues the work on the Con- 
stitution pursued its course. The debates prac- 
tically came to an end in February 1790, but the 
Constitution was reconsidered and recast during the 
following eighteen months, and did not finally receive 
the King's approval and become a law until September 

The suspensory veto and the new title of the sovereign 
have already been considered. Although the King was 
still nominally the head of the State, all matters of 
administration, of justice, and of the control of the 
army, were taken out of his hands. While he retained 
a semblance of power, in reality he was impotent. He 
was not granted even a small part of the authority vested 
in the present chief of the French Republic. He could 
not dissolve the Assembly, and the right of appeal to the 
nation was denied him. The decree of November 1789, 
excluding members of the Assembly from the ministry, 
made any real parliamentary government impossible. 



The whole power of the administration was vested in a 
single chamber, the Legislative Assembly. 

It was decided that the old system of provinces must 
be abolished. By the decree of the 15 February 1790, 
eighty-three departments were definitely organized, and 
by a later decree were baptized with names taken from 
rivers and mountains, so chosen as not to perpetuate any 
local or historical recollections. The system was naturally 
strongly opposed by the Right, but met with the approval 
of the Left, who hoped that it would extinguish all 
old remembrances, and make all citizens feel that 
they were Frenchmen, and not Bretons or Gascons, 
Picards or Provengals. The result was the centralization 
of all power in the capital, to the detriment of the prov- 

During this same month the affair of the unfortunate 
Favras caused a great stir at Paris. This individual had 
conceived the idea of carrying off the King and eflFecting 
a counter-revolution. Provence, the King's brother, was 
implicated in the plot, but denied the factj Favras was 
made the scapegoat, and gave up his life as a sacrifice to 
public tranquillity. He was acquitted by the criminal 
court, but was seized by the mob and hung in the Place 
de Greve. 

During the first week of February the King went to 
the Manege and made a short address, which was received 
with great applause. He expressed his perfect accord 
with the Assembly, and his approval of the measures 
already voted. The deputies broke into " transports of 
affection and emotion " and passionately thanked *^ the 
best of Kings." 

The palace of the Tuileries was a very hot and uncom- 
fortable summer residence, so when the warm weather 
came on the royal family went to Saint-Cloud. No 
objections were made to the removal, and the Court 
was escorted by a detachment of the National Guard. 
New plans of escape were considered, and at this time 
nothing would have been easier. When the King and 
Queen went out they were accompanied only by a single 



aide de camp of La Fayette, and they were often absent 
from the Chateau four or five hours at a time. 

In the following spring of 1791, however, when the 
sovereigns wished to go again to Saint-Cloud, the guard 
at the Tuileries refused to let them depart, after all 
preparations had been made, and the whole household 
was gone. The King and his family, who were already 
in their carriages, were obliged to alight and return to 
their apartments. This event was probably due to well- 
founded rumors of an intention to escape. 

During the early days of the Revolution there were 
current in France, and even abroad, a number of prophe- 
cies, which announced events so extraordinary, and seem- 
ingly so impossible, that few could put any faith in them. 
The most remarkable of these was pronounced by Mon- 
sieur Cazotte. 

In a fashionable salon, where many great ladies were 
assembled, the Duchesse de Gramont made the remark 
that it was a fortunate thing for women that their sex 
was always respected in time of revolution. 

" Your sex, ladies," replied Cazotte, " will not save 
you this time. You will all be treated like the men, 
without any difference whatsoever. You, Madame la 
Duchesse, will be conducted to the scaffold, you and 
many other ladies like you, in a cart, with your hands 
tied behind your back." 

^ " In that case, I hope that I shall at least have a car- 
riage draped in black." 

"No, Madame 5 even greater ladies than you will go 
like you in a cart with their hands tied like yours." 

"What? Greater ladies — the royal princesses?'* 

" Even greater ladies still." 

Madame de Gramont, who began to think that this 
pleasantry was being carried a little too far, then 
remarked in a light tone: 

" You see that he will not even allow me a con- 

"No, Madame j you will not have one, neither you 




nor any one else. The last victim who will have this 
privilege, will be . . . '' 

Cazotte paused for a moment. 

" Well, who is then the happy mortal who will have 
this prerogative? " 

" It is the only one that he will retain, and he will 
be ... the King of France! " 

This wonderful posthumous piece of fiction, which 
La Harpe wrote under the guise of fact, when composing 
his Memoires at the end of the Directory, is quoted 
by Taine at the conclusion of his study of the " Ancien 
Regime "j but from a purely dramatic point of view, 
there could be no better introduction to a story of the 
French Revolution. Without doubt, La Harpe was a 
prophet after the fact, but in the Gramont family, as 
well as in that of Cazotte, the existence of the prediction 
is regarded as an authentic tradition. 

It is a curious fact in connection with the course of the 
Revolution that the Court did nothing to stem the tide 
of events. The nobles showed the most complete apathy. 
Ruined by the abolition of feudal rights, reviled and 
threatened both at Paris and in the provinces, they went 
their way with a smile, and seemed to feel the situation 
not at all. The calm fatalism with which they accepted 
the acts of the Assembly is amazing. Nothing seemed to 
move the threatened caste. The winter was particularly 
gay. " On the 3 1 December," says Madelin, " they bade 
the old year a joyous farewell; as midnight struck, the 
gentlemen gaily kissed the ladies of the company. And 
not a head there but was shaking on its owner's shoul- 
ders! " The noblesse made fun of the Revolution. They 
joked over La Fayette and his National Guard. They 
laughed at a shoemaker who said, " My son will some 
day be a Marshal of France! " That sons of masons and 
coopers and inn-keepers were one day, in the not far- 
distant future, to bear this proud title, was beyond the 
comprehension of aristocratic society. But this was one of 
the forces destined to ensure the triumph of the Revo- 



The wealth of the Church was enormous, and for more 
than a century needy controllers had looked upon it with 
longing eyes, as a means of filling the empty coflFers of 
the State. By agreement with the Clergy, the tithe had 
been suppressed. If the Church had been willing to come 
forward voluntarily and make a little further sacrifice 
it might have averted the storm. An advance of four 
hundred millions as a temporary loan would have saved 
everything. But the Clergy could not realize the depth 
of the feeling against the privileged classes, and knew 
nothing of defence or policy. A member of their own 
body was to strike the deadly blow. 

On the 10 October, Talleyrand, the Bishop of Autun, 
limped into the tribune. He moved that the property 
of the Church be placed at the disposal of the State. 
The following day Mirabeau spoke in favor of the 
motion. The debate which followed was very heated. 
The Clergy made a strong defence. The measure was 
fiercely opposed by Maury and Sieyes, but was favored 
by the Abbe Gregoire and some twenty parish priests. 
Through the influence of Mirabeau the motion was 
finally carried by the close vote of 368 to 346, over three 
hundred deputies being absent or not voting. 

This transaction, which was a sorry piece of business, 
put about three billions into the treasury. The important 
question to be settled now was how to realize on the 
Church property. Necker was embarrassed, and to gain 
time took to his bed. The City of Paris was the first to 
come to the rescue: Bailly offered to buy twenty-seven 
religious houses for two hundred millions. His proposal 
was accepted, and the arrangement was extended to other 
Communes. It was decided to finance the operation by 
issuing money secured by the Church property. These 
paper bills were the famous assi gnats. It was a forced 
currency, and Maury claimed that the assignats would 
in the end bankrupt the nation, while Petion strongly 
declared that they would " ensure the Revolution." Both 
of these prophets were correct: the assignats did almost 
ruin France, but they also made every man who held 



them a defender of the Revolution, and so ensured its 

But, while condemning this measure, it is impossible, 
also, to deny the extreme and pressing necessity under 
which the decree was adopted. The financial condition 
of the State was nearly desperate. The repeal of most 
of the old taxes, which had been so unpopular, and the 
reduction of the duties on many articles largely used by 
the poor, had cut off the main sources of revenue to the 
Crown, while at the same time the expenditure was 
rapidly increasing. Desperate attempts had been made 
to borrow, but the credit of the nation was gone. Two 
separate loans, decreed in August, one of thirty and the 
other of eighty millions, had proved absolute failures. 
It was therefore as the only possible alternative to bank- 
ruptcy that the Assembly appropriated the Church prop- 
erty and the Crown domains, compensating the Clergy 
by salaries, and the King by a very liberal civil list. 

In October 1789, fifteen Breton Communes formed 
themselves into a federation; a month later fourteen 
towns in Dauphine at the other end of the kingdom made 
a similar union j and during the course of the winter the 
movement spread all over France. The King had been 
the bond that held the nation together; as his influence 
waned, and anarchy cast a gloom over the country, the 
people began blindly to bind themselves together. Then 
the provinces in turn began to " federate." The Assembly, 
alarmed by this movement, decided to direct its course. 
Delegates of the National Guards of France were 
invited to assemble at Paris on the 14 July to celebrate 
the anniversary of the taking of the Bastille. This was 
the celebrated " Fete of the Federation." 

At Paris it was necessary to make extensive prepara- 
tions: the Champ-de-Mars was to be levelled, and stands 
erected for the spectators. When the people saw that 
the workmen sent by the City weremot numerous enough, 
every one took a hand. In ten days all was finished. 

[ 130] 


Many are the descriptions of the festival, but words 
can give little idea of the brilliancy of the spectacle, in 
which the King and royal family took part. The Mass 
was said by Talleyrand, the Bishop of Autun, assisted 
by four hundred priests, girt with tricolored sashes. 
When La Fayette advanced to the altar, laid his sword 
upon it, and took the oath of fidelity to the Nation, the 
Laws, and the King, the excitement rose to madness. 
Then the President of the Assembly, followed by all 
the deputies, took the oath, but they had a cold reception. 
The King did not go up to the altar, but was loudly 
cheered as he stood in front of his armchair and swore 
to maintain the Constitution. Finally the ecstacy reached 
the point of frenzy when the Queen held up the Dauphin 
and declared that they both shared these sentiments. In 
the evening there were great illuminations, and the 
people danced on the site of the demolished fortress. 

Notwithstanding the visit of the King to the Assembly 
in February, the accord between them was only apparent. 
There were already signs of a split in the revolutionary 
party, and the King's advisers counselled him to take 
advantage of the occasion to effect a counter-revolution. 
Some of the leaders of the Left, who had hitherto 
directed the course of events, desired to stop short, or 
even retrace their steps, while others wished to go on. 
Among the extreme faction a definitely republican group 
was beginning to take shape, and many of the members 
were alarmed at this new development. The Court 
thought that the moment had come to seek support 
among the patriotic deputies. Steps were taken to get in 
touch with La Fayette j also with Mirabeau, who was 
offended by the decree debarring him from the ministry, 
and had already offered his support to the Comte de 

At this time, if they could have acted in harmony, 
these two men might have controlled the future course 
of events. Mirabeau, who was already ill, was much 
disturbed over the way things were going. One day he 



raged against the reactionary tendency of the Assembly, 
the next, against the apathy of the King, who paid him 
but did not make use of his services. There is no doubt 
that he sincerely desired the restoration of the King's 
authority, and at the same time the maintenance of the 
benefits gained by the Revolution. 

La Fayette also was in favor of a moderate policy, 
but it was impossible for the two men to act in harmony. 
Mirabeau despised La Fayette for his imbecility j La< 
Fayette detested Mirabeau on account of his profligacy, 
and the Court had no confidence in either of them. The 
King disliked Mirabeau because he had forced through 
the measure regarding the Church property, and the 
Queen felt a profound aversion to him because she 
thought he was responsible for the events of the fifth 
and sixth of October. 

Marie-Antoinette also distrusted La Fayette. In his 
early youth he had frequented the Court, where his 
long ungainly body, his red hair, and his awkwardness, 
had provoked her ridicule. Even after his return from 
America, when he was feted at Versailles as " the hero 
of two worlds," her antipathy persisted. She could not 
stand his political views, and his pretensions as a great 
statesman. She felt that his self-sufiiciency covered an 
incorrigible niaiseriey which was the cause of all his mis- 
takes and all his weakness, and in this her judgment 
was well-founded. 

The role of La Fayette during the October days 
changed the aversion of the Queen into a strong resent- 
ment. She thought he was capable of any act — even the 
overthrow of the Monarchy, to gain supreme power for 

Nevertheless it is certain that La Fayette did not then 
dream of a republic for France, whatever may have been 
the ideas he had brought back from America. He desired 
the abolition of abuses and the establishment of a wise 
liberty, but he had no idea of overturning the Throne. 
The unbounded hatred which the Queen felt for him, 
and which she showed on every occasion, caused La 



Fayette as much chagrin as his shallow nature was 
capable of feeling. 

Under these circumstances it is easy to imagine hpw 
Marie- Antoinette received the overtures of La Fayette 
to work for the restoration of the royal authority which 
he had done so much to overthrow. When he asked the 
Queen one day, if she did not think the Due d'Orleans 
aspired to the throne, she replied, pointedly: "Is it 
necessary. Monsieur, to be a prince in order to have 
designs on the Crown? " 

The attitude of Mirabeau, however, was very dif- 
ferent, and his support was even more important. When 
the idea of calling him in was first suggested to the 
Queen, she at once rejected it. Later Mercy took up 
the plan again, in March 1790, with the approval of 
Fersen. The latter had remained at Paris after the 
events of October, and was constantly at the Tuileries, 
where he enjoyed the full confidence both of the King 
and the Queen. Moderate by temperament and wise by 
reflection, Fersen urged Marie-Antoinette not to repulse 
the succor which was offered her, and not to make an 
irreconcilable enemy of an adversary who was ready to 
lay down his arms. 

In March 1790, therefore, Mercy summoned La 
Marck to return from Brussels, where he had gone to 
reside, and informed him of the desire of the King and 
Queen to enter again into relations with Mirabeau. 

Comte de Mercy- Argent eau, who was born at Liege 
in 1722, had inherited the great estates of his family in 
Hungary and Lorraine, and was a naturalized citizen 
of France. In 1766 he was appointed Austrian ambas- 
sador at Paris, and with Choiseul arranged the marriage 
of Marie-Antoinette with the Dauphin. He enjoyed the 
entire confidence of Maria Theresa, who requested him 
to direct her daughter's conduct, and ordered her to 
obey him in every respect. Although Marie- Antoinette 
did not always follow his advice, in e.very emergency 
she turned to him. On the present occasion he strongly 
urged the Queen to open communications with Mira- 

[ 131] 


beau, and that La Marck should be asked to act as 

Comte de La Marck came of an old Flemish family, 
and through his mother was a direct descendant of the 
" Wild Boar of the Ardennes." He was the second son 
of Prince d'Aremberg, and was adopted by his maternal 
grandfather, the last Comte de La Marck. He came to 
Paris in 1770, and was soon a favorite at the Court of 
Versailles. He married an heiress, with large estates in 
French Flanders, and was elected to the States-General 
by the Noblesse of Quesnoy. In the Assembly he became 
an intimate friend of Mirabeau. As already stated, it 
was through him that Mirabeau was asked to draw up 
the memorandum which was presented to the Court in 
October 1789. After the fatal decree of November had 
been passed La Marck left for Brussels where he 
remained until he received Mercy's letter recalling him 
to Paris. 

La Marck arrived at Paris on the 16 March, and at 
once had a long interview with Mercy, but refused to 
interfere in the matter until the ambassador agreed 
himself to meet Mirabeau. After a number of confer- 
ences between Mercy, La Marck and Mirabeau, the 
latter was asked to state definitely the services which he 
would undertake to render. 

One other obstacle still remained to be overcome: 
the Queen's firm conviction that Mirabeau was in- 
volved in the attack of the mob on Versailles. She 
sent for La Marck and asked him the question point- 
blank. He denied most positively that Mirabeau had 
anything to do with the aflFair, and proved his asser- 
tions. The Queen was much relieved. 

La Marck went even further. He guaranteed abso- 
lutely the good faith of the tribune, and stated that it 
was Mirabeau's determination, not to go back, but to 
take no steps ahead. The Queen on her side gave the 
assurance that neither she nor the King thought of the 
reestablishment of absolute power, and were prepared 
to accept the new conditions. Mirabeau confirmed La 



Marck's engagements by a note in his own hand, in 
which he promised the King, loyalty, zeal, activity, 
energy and courage. 

On the 10 May Mirabeau handed La Marck a 
memorandum for the King. No counter-revolution, he 
said; it would be " dangerous and criminal," but ample 
executive power, " absolutely and exclusively in the 
hands of the King." He undertook gradually to prepare 
the public mind for this policy by correspondence with 
the different departments. In order to be useful to the 
Court, he must remain popular, and, to this end, must 
continue to attack the feudal privileges of the Old 
Regime. Both the King and the Queen were pleased with 
his letter. 

The conditions stipulated by La Marck were: (i) the 
payment of Mirabeau's debts, about 200,000 livresj 
(2) an allowance of 6000 livres a month j and (3), if 
he carried out his undertaking satisfactorily, a million 
livres, in four bills of 250,000 each, to be deposited with 
La Marck. In receiving the money of the Court, Mira- 
beau only proposed to carry out what he considered to be 
the best policy, and he excused his conduct by saying: 
" On peut m'acheter, mais je ne me vends pas." 

From this time, there was a great change in the life 
of Mirabeau. He gave up his modest furnished lodging, 
and installed himself like a prince in the Chaussee- 
d'Antin, where he kept open house. In vain did La 
Marck beg him to live in his old style, and merely to 
move to a more comfortable apartment. He had always 
been poor, and now that he had money he could not 
resist the temptation to spend it freely. His connection 
with the Court was suspected, and the change in his 
manner of life was enough alone to give grounds for 
suspicion. He was playing a double game, and his course 
was a marvel of balancing. He threw himself into his 
new task with enthusiasm, and hardly took time to sleep. 

The Jacobins began to distrust him, and this powerful 
club escaped from his influence, and fell under the guid- 
ance of the triumvirate, Duport, Barnave and Lameth. 



In this dilemma he could only turn to La Fayette for 
support. But La Fayette, who had always been jealous 
of Mirabeau, refused the alliance, and Mirabeau asked 
the King to try and overcome his objections. Accord- 
ingly, on the first of June, Louis wrote to the general 
a letter which Mirabeau had dictated j but La Fayette 
still held off, and no agreement could be reached. 

Mirabeau was much pleased with this famous arrange- 
ment, which, in return for his services, assured him relief 
from his debts and a sufficient income, and he soon pro- 
fessed for Marie-Antoinette a sort of enthusiastic devo- 
tion. " Le Roi," he wrote, " n'a qu'un homme, c'est sa 
femme." But the Queen, on account of this transaction, 
retained for the great tribune a feeling of instinctive 
contempt, which made any real confidence impossible. 
It is not necessary to look further for the reasons which 
led to the failure of all of Mirabeau's efforts to save 
the Crown. 

The admiration of Mirabeau for the Queen is a suffi- 
cient explanation of his desire to meet her. He did not 
know Marie- Antoinette, and letters did not satisfy him : he 
must have a personal interview, and talk with her tete-a- 
tete. It was not easy to obtain the consent of the Queen, 
but she finally agreed to see Mirabeau, and a rendez- 
vous was arranged for Saturday the third of July at 
eight-thirty in the morning in a little pavilion, a kind 
of grotto, in the park of Saint-Cloud. The previous even- 
ing, Mirabeau went to Auteuil, where he passed the night 
at the house of his niece, Madame d'Aragon. The next 
morning at an early hour he set out in a cabriolet con- 
ducted by his nephew, the young Comte de Saillant, who 
was disguised as a courier. He alighted at a little gate of 
the park, knocked, was admitted, and found himself in 
the presence of Marie-Antoinette. 

The Queen, on finding herself face to face with the 
man who had done her so much harm, and whose per- 
sonal appearance was so repulsive, felt an interior shock, 
a sensation of dismay. But she overcame her feelings and 
opened the conversation with her usual grace. Mirabeau 



also was moved, and, to a certain extent, intimidated. 
In the bad company which he had aflFected since the days 
of his youth he had to a great degree lost the spirit and 
breeding of a man of the world. In spite of all this the 
conversation was animated, and they understood each 
other perfectly. The seductive voice and the eloquent 
words of the tribune won Marie-Antoinette, and she in 
turn conquered Mirabeau by her noble simplicity and 
proud dignity. When he took leave of the Queen after 
an interview of three-quarters of an hour, he asked per- 
mission to kiss her hand, and as he bore it to his lips he 
murmured, " Madame, the Monarchy is saved." When 
he rejoined his nephew he said: " She is very great, very 
noble and very unfortunate, but I will save her." 

This interview confirmed Mirabeau in his idea that 
the Queen alone had the will and the courage necessary 
to second his views. But if Marie-Antoinette had these 
qualities, even to excess, she was lacking in stability and 
perseverance, and, above all, in faith in her chosen ally. 
The favorable impression of the meeting at Saint-Cloud 
was soon effaced. A little later, Mirabeau wrote La Marck 
sadly that he was of little usej that the Court showed no 
intention of following his advice. 

The plan of action which Mirabeau outlined in his 
numerous secret notes to the King and Queen may be 
briefly summarized as follows: To show themselves fre- 
quently to the people j to employ all means to regain their 
lost popularity j to assemble quietly a few loyal regiments 
under a proved chief; then, some fine day, under the 
protection of these troops, to transport the Court to some 
neighboring city, like Compiegne or Fontainebleau, 
whence negotiations could be opened with the National 
Assembly for the reestablishment of the royal authority. 
No foreign intervention, which would only make matters 
worse, but civil war if unavoidable. "It is necessary to 
take a stand," he wrote in August. "In two words, civil 
war is certain, and perhaps necessary." 

In order to explain himself more clearly, Mirabeau 
asked for another interview with the Queen. But the form 



and substance of his last note had alarmed Marie- 
Antoinette. Both she and Louis recoiled from the idea 
of a civil war. She wrote Mercy, in transmitting the letter, 
that she thought Mirabeau was crazy to suggest such a 
thing. As for seeing him again, it was out of the question: 
he must not count on it. 

This refusal plunged Mirabeau in the most bitter dis- 
couragement, but he kept up the hopeless struggle. From 
month to month he continued to write notes, to argue, and 
to urge. Nothing could overcome the apathy of the Court. 
The King, in accord with his ministers, was looking for 
outside support. An envoy by the name of Bonne was sent 
to Turin to get in touch with Comte d'Artois, and ar- 
range for the invasion of France by an army of Sardinians 
and emigres. But Bonne was arrested at the frontier and 
imprisoned in the Abbaye at Paris. The Court, in order to 
create a diversion, took up again before the Chatelet the 
criminal investigation of the events of the fifth and sixth 
of October, which it always held in reserve, with the idea 
of compromising Mirabeau and La Fayette. Mirabeau, in 
retaliation, proposed the recall of the Due d'Orleans, 
which the Court dreaded above all eventualities. The Due 
had been sent to London the previous autumn on the 
flimsy pretence of a diplomatic mission, but in reality in 
order to get him out of the country. Upon the invitation 
of the Assembly, he now returned to Paris, where he soon 
recovered a part of his former popularity, and became an 
aspirant for the Throne. 

However, none of the plans of the counter-revolu- 
tionists, either at Paris or abroad, had any chance of 
success. The Court and the Emigres acted at cross- 
purposes, and no one had a clear and positive plan to op- 
pose to that of Mirabeau — the only one which could 
still have saved the Monarchy. 

At this moment, when affairs were in the most critical 
condition, the Court lost its talented counsellor: the 
second day of April 1791, Mirabeau passed away at the 
age of forty-two, a victim to his ceaseless activity, his 
perpetual expense of physical and moral energy. 



Born of an ancient and noble family, after a youth of 
excess he had in 1789 resolutely allied himself with the 
Third Estate, and on the 23 June had voiced the resistance 
to the royal authority. His ambition was to direct the 
course of the Revolution, but he was barred from the 
ministry by the jealousy and distrust of the Assembly, 
and was reduced to the role of secret adviser of the King 
and Queen, who retained him, but failed to profit by his 
wise counsels. Although he accepted the pay of the Court, 
he only advocated the policies in which he believed. He 
was a passionate advocate of liberty, and a resolute oppo- 
nent of any plan of foreign interference. A thorough 
patriot, he was the apostle of Liberty and Equality, and 
a firm believer in the grandeur of France. His tribute to 
the tricolor is the most eloquent ever pronounced. Kept 
aloof from power by a kind of ostracism, deprived of the 
means of directly serving his country, Mirabeau had in 
his favor only the immense power of public opinion. 
" The greatest orator," says a recent writer, " the most 
perspicacious genius of the Revolution, under the regime 
of the bourgeois monarchy which he had contributed to 
found, could not play the role of supreme chief, to which 
his talents and his popularity called him. His career was 
perhaps the most brilliant failure in history." {La flus 
belle earner e manque e de Vhistoire,^ With him died the 
cause of the Bourbon Monarchy, and, more important 
still, the only hope of a peaceful solution of the dangers 
which were threatening France. 




The Queen Prepares to Escape — The Plan Doomed to Failure — 
Montmedy the Objective — The Royal Party — The Travelling 
Carriage — Bouille's Task — Apathy of the Authorities — Pro- 
vence Leaves Paris — La Fayette's Call — Departure of the Royal 
Family — Delays en Route — Pont-de-Somme-Vesle — Chalons 

— Sainte-Menehould — Clermont — Drouet's Ride — Varennes 

— Arrival of Drouet — The King Arrested — Choiseul Arrives 

— The King Leaves for Paris — Bouille Comes too Late — The 
Return Trip — Cold Reception at Paris 

THE news of the death of Mirabeau was received 
by the Queen and the Court with joy. Although 
his death had destroyed the last chance of saving 
the Throne, no one except the King seems to have under- 
stood how great a task Mirabeau had undertaken, and 
how ably he had carried it on. " Do not rejoice over the 
death of Mirabeau," Louis said to Marie- Antoinette, " we 
have suffered a greater loss than you imagine." 

For more than six months the Queen had been secretly 
making plans for flight. As early as October 1 790 she had 
consulted Bouille as to the possibility of the King's go- 
ing to Metz. Her intentions were confirmed by the re- 
fusal of the National Guard to allow the royal family 
to go to Saint-Cloud in April 1791. But according to 
Madame Campan the Queen had begun to prepare for 
her departure as early as the month of March, when she 
gave a number of orders in anticipation of the intended 
event. In vain Madame Campan pointed out that the 
Queen of France would find linen and gowns everywhere; 
she was determined to have a complete outfit, both for 





her children and herself, awaiting her arrival at Brussels. 
A large trunk was filled with these purchases, and for- 
warded to one of the Queen's women at Arras, with 
orders to be ready to start for Brussels on a moment's 
notice. This lady, who was the widow of the mayor of 
Arras, could depart at any time without attracting 

Marie-Antoinette was also determined to take with her 
a large travelling dressing-case, but was finally persuaded 
to order a duplicate made, at an expense of five hundred 
louis, and forwarded to Brussels, ostensibly as a present 
to her sister, the Archduchess Marie-Christine, the gov- 
erness of the Low Countries. 

She also arranged to send her diamonds by the hands 
of Leonard, her hairdresser, who was to depart on the 
same day as the royal family. These jewels were her 
own personal property, as the Crown diamonds had 
already been delivered up to the commissioners of the 
Assembly. These details are of importance, since the 
early preparations for the journey were betrayed to the 
Mayor of Paris by one of the women of the Queen's 
wardrobe, and this had much to do with the failure of 
the plan. 

The Queen pretended to think that in deciding to leave 
Paris she was following the advice of Mirabeau and do- 
ing a very statesman-like thing, but the best proof to the 
contrary is to be found in the fact that the flight was 
kept a secret from La Marck, who was distrusted because 
of his past intimacy with Mirabeau. The flight could 
hardly have been successful in any case, says Mr. H. 
Morse Stephens, even without the curious train of events 
which brought about its failure, because of the general 
distrust of the King, and even more of the Queen, and 
the disloyalty of the Army. If the royal family had suc- 
ceeded in crossing the frontier, the events of 1814 and 
1 8 15, when foreign armies imposed a Bourbon king upon 
France, might have been anticipated by nearly a quarter 
of a century. 

The persons chiefly instrumental in arranging the plans 

[ 141 ] 


for escape were Comte de Fersen and the Marquis de 

Bouille had won great fame in the West Indies during 
the American War of Independence, and was one of the 
most distinguished generals in the service of France. He 
was born in Auvergne in 1739, and had been promoted 
to be a colonel in the Seven Years' War. In 1768 he was 
made governor of the island of Guadeloupe, and in 1777 
governor-general of the Windward Islands, with head- 
quarters at Martinique. During the American war he took 
a number of islands from the English, and was rewarded 
for his services by the rank of lieutenant-general and the 
Order of the Holy Ghost. On his return to France he 
was appointed governor of Metz, one of the most im- 
portant commands in France, from its proximity to the 
eastern frontier. 

As there were numerous important questions to settle, 
Bouille sent his eldest son, Comte Louis, to Paris to in- 
form the King as to his plans. Three cities were sug- 
gested as a place of refuge, but for various reasons Mont- 
medy, a few miles from the northern frontier, was chosen. 
To this place there were two principal routes : the shortest 
and most direct by Reims, the other by Chalons and Cler- 
mont. The two routes met at Sedan, a short distance to the 
northwest of Montmedy. Bouille favored the more direct 
route, but the King had been crowned at Reims, and was 
afraid that he might be recognized there. The Chalons 
route was therefore selected, and as the regular post-road 
led through Verdun, which was feared on account of its 
revolutionary tendencies, it was decided that the royal 
party should turn directly north at Clermont and take a 
by-road which ran down the valley of the Aire via 
Varennes to Sedan. Against the advice of Bouille, who was 
in favor of two light, fast English travelling carriages, 
the King decided that the royal family should all make 
the journey in a single coach — he would be saved with 
all his family or not at all. 

The King arranged to use a passport which had been 
obtained in the name of the Baronne de Korff, a Russian 
friend of Fersen's, who was described as travelling with 

[ 142] 


her two children, their governess, a valet, a femme de 
chambre, and three domestics. Madame de Tourzel, the 
governess of the royal children, was to take the part of 
the Baronne, the Queen that of the governess, the King 
and his sister the roles of the valet and the maid, and three 
body-guards were to be the domestics. These men had 
been chosen for their size and strength and endurance. 

In December 1790 Madame de Korff had ordered to 
be built for her at Paris a large travelling coach, or 
berline, which could easily hold six people. Mr. Oscar 
Browning states that the general belief is quite erroneous, 
that this coach was a clumsy lumbering vehicle, conspicu- 
ous by its form and splendor. It was an ordinary, solid, 
well-built berline, painted green and black, with the perch 
and wheels the customary yellow. Outside, it looked like 
the usual travelling carriages, but inside it was very richly 
upholstered and handsomely equipped. It had cost six 
thousand livres, a very large sum for the time. To Fersen 
was entrusted the task of getting the coach ready for the 
flight, and he spent no small part of his fortune in the 
preparations. As already stated, the silence of Madame 
Campan as to the prominent part taken by Fersen in the 
proposed escape is very strange. 

The task of Bouille was much more difiicult. The new 
Minister of War, Duportail, had cut down his command 
at Metz, and ordered away some of his most trusted 
troops. His plan was to concentrate at Montmedy some 
three thousand cavalry and six thousand infantry, part 
French and part foreign soldiers. The excuse for this 
concentration was a reported movement of Austrian 
troops towards the Flemish frontier. To finance these 
operations the King advanced Bouille a million livres. 

A far more difficult undertaking was to meet the King's 
desire that cavalry posts should be established at all the 
relay stations from Pont-de-Somme-Vesle to Varennes. 
In vain Bouille argued that this would arouse the suspi- 
cions of the people, and perhaps imperil the success of 
the plan. The King insisted, and Bouille could only sub- 
mit. So he spread the report that a convoy of " treasure " 

[ 143 1 


was being shipped from Paris which needed a strong 

It was difficult to make all these preparations with 
secrecy, and far too many persons knew of the plans. It 
is certain that more than a score of people at Paris were 
more or less cognizant of what was going on, and many 
others must have formed shrewd suspicions. The palace 
was surrounded by spies and traitors, and many warnings 
had been given to Bailly and La Fayette that the King 
and Queen were preparing for flight. It has even been 
stated that the mayor and the commander of the National 
Guard were actually privy to the plans, but this accusation 
seems to be baseless. The authorities had been warned so 
many times of the impending flight of the royal family 
that it is not strange that they had ceased to give credit 
to these reports. 

On the evening of Monday the 20 June, Bailly, who 
was confined to his house by illness, sent for La Fayette, 
told him of the latest rumors, and begged him to go 
to the Tuileries and make sure that all was well there. 

That evening the King and Queen had received a 
visit from the Comte de Provence, who was also intend- 
ing to leave the same night, and had called to say adieu. 
He was more successful than the King in making his 
escape, and lived to wear the crown. The two brothers 
never met again. 

After the departure of Monsieur, Louis and Marie- 
Antoinette had supper together, and talked until they 
went to their apartments at eleven for the usual formali- 
ties of the coucher. At this hour La Fayette drove up 
and entered the palace. He saw the King and chatted 
with him for half an hour, and then left, satisfied that 
his fears were groundless. As soon as he was gone, the 
King arose and dressed himself again, in the disguise of 
a valet. 

By secret passageways, the King, the Dauphin, Madame 
Royale, and Madame filisabeth, the King's sister, pro- 
ceeded to the apartment of the Due de Villequier in the 
entresol, which had long been vacant, and issued by the 



door on the Cour des Princes, where there was no sentinel 

At the corner of the little Rue de I'fichelle and the 
Rue Saint-Honore, where to-day stands the Hotel de 
Normandie, Fersen, dressed as a coachman, was waiting 
at midnight to drive them in a cab to where the berline 
was stationed at the northern gate of the city. The party 
arrived promptly with the exception of the Queen, who 
had left the palace last, and had lost her way among the 
blind alleys of the Carrousel. She finally reached the 
rendez-vous a half hour late. All then entered the cab, 
which Fersen drove, by a long detour through the Fau- 
bourg Saint-Honore, to the Porte Saint- Martin, where 
the berline awaited them. There the transfer was made. 
Fersen went with the party as far as Bondyj there he 
left them, and took the road for Mons, where he arrived 
in safety. He wanted to accompany the royal family, but 
the King refused — a great mistake, for he had with 
him no person with any intelligence or resources. 

Relays were waiting at the next post, Claye, and in 
the broad daylight the berline lumbered on towards 
Meaux. The King and Queen enjoyed the fresh country 
air, of which they had long been deprived. They already 
felt themselves free. But three precious hours had al- 
ready been lost, by the delay in starting, and by an 
accident to the new coach. The itinerary had been very 
carefully arranged, and the different posts which covered 
the route beyond Chalons expected the passage of the 
treasure at fixed hours. 

The King should have arrived at two o'clock at Pont- 
de-Somme-Vesle, the first cavalry post, where would be 
found forty hussars under the orders of Colonel-Comte 
de Choiseul. The latter had reached there from Paris 
at eleven o'clock, in company with Leonard, the coiffeur 
of the Queen, who had charge of the jewels of his mis- 
tress. Captain Goguelat, of the staff of Bouille, appeared 
at noon with his forty horsemen. Three o'clock, and four 
o'clock struck, and the King did not come. The peasants, 
who had had trouble with their seigneur, thought that 


©SJieich, Nap 
Fityhtio Varenne^^ 



the troopers had been sent to overawe them, and began 
to murmur. Choiseul became alarmed, lost his head, and 
sent Leonard forward with a note to advise the other de- 
tachments that the treasure would not pass that day. At 
five o'clock, Choiseul retired with the hussars, not by the 
post-road to Sainte-Menehould, but by a difficult route 
towards the Argonne and Varennes. 

At that hour the royal party was at Chalons, only a 
few miles away. Notwithstanding all the delays they 
had covered the distance of i lO miles from Paris at an 
average speed of over six miles an hour. Except for the 
imbecility of Choiseul, all might yet have gone well. 

Chalons lies upon the border of an extensive plain, 
where according to tradition Attila's army was destroyed 
by the Romans. It is a barren and desolate space, known 
as the " Catalaunian Fields." Far off to the east runs the 
wooded wall of the Argonne, and at the edge of the 
forest lies the town of Sainte-Menehould, not far from 
the little village of Valmy, to be made famous just fifteen 
months later by the first great victory of the Republican 

An hour after the departure of Choiseul, the King 
finally arrived. He was surprised not to find the escort, 
but gave orders to change horses and go on. At eight 
o'clock he was at Sainte-Menehould, where he was) to 
find thirty-three dragoons commanded by Captain d'An- 
douins. This officer approached the berline and informed 
the King that, on receipt of the note from Choiseul, he 
had ordered his men to unsaddle their horses, and that 
he was afraid to attract attention now by commanding the 
men to mount again. 

It was still daylight when the berline stopped, to change 
horses at the relay station. The shades of the carriage 
were raised, and the village postmaster, Drouet, thought 
that he recognized the Queen, whom he had seen several 
times at Paris during his seven years of service with the 
Conde dragoons. He was also struck by the resemblance 
of the face of the valet to the head of the King engraved 
upon the fresh fifty-franc assignat which had just been 



handed him in payment for the new post-horses. As soon 
as the berline had left he spoke of his suspicions, and was 
directed by the municipal authorities to follow the party 
and give the alarm. He at once mounted a horse, and set 
out with Guillaume, also a former trooper. 

The populace and the National Guards kept the dra- 
goons from saddling, with the exception of one brave 
man, Lagache, who alone charged his opponents, and 
galloped in pursuit of the King. His later life was in 
keeping with this courageous actj he served through the 
wars of the Empire under the name of " General Henry," 
and was created in 1 8 1 2 a baron for his military services. 

About ten o'clock the King arrived at Clermont, and 
was once more disturbed at finding no preparations. 
Colonel Damas, after reading the note of Choiseul, had 
ordered his 140 men to dismount, and the dragoons had 
dispersed an hour before to look up quarters in the little 

The travellers were in haste to go on, and stopped only 
ten minutes, just long enough to change horses. At Cler- 
mont also, the suspicions of the people had been aroused, 
and when Damas gave orders for his men to follow the 
carriage, their departure was opposed. After a few 
moments of hesitation, the dragoons refused to obey the 
order to mount, and Damas fled with several of his 

Meanwhile, Drouet and his companion were galloping 
along the post-road in pursuit of the berline. It was after 
ten o'clock when they neared Clermont. The moon was 
overcast, but on this the shortest night of the year it was 
not yet entirely dark. Drouet heard voices in the shadows 
before him: it was his own postilions on their way back 
from the end of the stage. He stopped to speak to them 
and learned that the travellers, when the relay horses 
were attached at Clermont, had cried "A Varennes! " 
This showed that they did not intend, as he had supposed, 
to take the road to Metz through Verdun, at which place 
he was hoping to stop them. Instead of following the 
post-road into the town, he at once took to the woods on 



his left, and galloped up the hill to the summit. Here he 
followed an old lane that runs along the crest of the 
ridge, while three hundred feet below, upon the open 
plain which borders the forest, the berline was thunder- 
ing along the paved highway. 

It was half past eleven when the berline arrived at 
Varennes, a little town of 1 500 inhabitants situated in the 
beautiful valley of the Aire. On the left bank of the river, 
which divides the place into two almost equal parts, is 
the " ville haute," a collection of steep and narrow streets, 
two of which descend from the entrance of the town on 
the Clermont side to the one little bridge which spans 
the river, and leads to the " ville basse." 

In 1 79 1 Varennes was very much as it is to-day. In 
the upper town there are two open squares. The first 
is the Place du Chateau, where the old castle once stood. 
A little further on is the Place du Marche, where stands 
the Church of Saint-Gengoult. The bell-tower of the 
church on the side of the street of the Basse-Cour rested 
upon a low arch some fifty feet long, closed by two doors. 
This archway was the only passage for carriages. 

At the other end of the little bridge the low town 
had in 1791 only one square, towards the end of the 
town, on the spot where the church now stands. At the 
corner of the square nearest the bridge stood the Hotel 
du Grand- Monarque. 

Varennes was not a post-town, so no relays were kept 
there, but it had been arranged that fresh horses should 
be ready for the King at the entrance of the town nearest 
to Clermont, where sixty hussars were also to be stationed. 
At the last moment the plan was changed, and the horses 
and the escort were sent to the inn in the lower town. This 
fatal blunder deprived the now almost hopeless enter- 
prise of the last chance of success. 

The King, who of course knew nothing of this change, 
was very much surprised on arriving at the entrance of 
the town not to find the relays. The postilions were 
ordered to go on, but refused, saying that they had been 
told at Clermont to go no further than the upper town. 



At this moment Drouet arrived. He saw the carriage 
of the King, galloped by in the dark, and descended the 
main street to the inn of the Bras-d'Or, near the church. 
Here he told the landlord, Leblanc, that the King had 
fled from Paris, that his carriage was in the upper town, 
and that it was necessary to stop him at all hazards. 
Drouet was at once conducted to Sauce, the procureur of 
the commune, who was a small grocer in the town. Sauce 
sent his children to arouse the citizens with an alarm of 
fire, and steps were taken to obstruct the bridge by over- 
turning two large wagons. 

The King finally persuaded the postilions to go on, 
and the carriage proceeded at far as the bridge, where it 
was stopped by the obstructions. Sauce then appeared, and 
demanded to see the passport, which was presented to him. 
He pretended that it was not in order, and requested the 
travellers to enter his house, where he could better ex- 
amine the paper. After some hesitation the party decided 
that any objection was useless, and followed Sauce to his 
home. He lived near by in a small house, with the shop 
on the ground floor and two rooms above. The travellers 
passed through the store and mounted by a narrow dark 
staircase to the floor above. They were followed by Sauce, 
Drouet, Guillaume, Leblanc, and several municipal 
officers. A warm discussion followed. Drouet produced the 
assignat and compared the royal effigy with the visage 
of the pretended valet of the Baronne de Korff and 
claimed that he was the King. The authorities, who were 
peasants and small tradespeople, hesitated to take any 
action. Suddenly Sauce remembered that there was a cer- 
tain Judge Destez in town, who had often seen the King 
at Paris. He was sent for, and on his arrival at once 
recognized the King. 

It was impossible to dissimulate longer. The King 
admitted his identity, and presented them all to the 
Queen. He endeavored to win over Sauce and his wife, 
but without success. 

At one o'clock, Choiseul and his men arrived from 
Pont-de-Somme-Vesle, worn-out with fatigue. They 



crossed the bridge and went directly to the camp of the 
sixty hussars, where they found in command only a 
sergeant-major, as the superior oflFcers had all gone to 
Stenay to notify Bouille. They then rushed to the King 
and begged him to allow them to escort him to Dun. 
But he refused to attempt this daring plan which might 
have saved him. Both Louis and Sauce were playing for 
time, the King hoping that Bouille would come to his 
rescue, and the grocer awaiting the arrival of several 
thousand patriots who were flocking to Varennes from 
the surrounding country. 

About seven o'clock Wednesday morning an aide de 
camp of La Fayette arrived from Paris bearing the de- 
cree of the National Assembly, which had suspended the 
King from his royal authority as soon as informed of his 
flight. The King still attempted to defer his departure, but 
all in vain. A few minutes later he was forced to set out. 

Two hours later Bouille reached Varennes at the head 
of the regiment of Royal-Allemand, 300 strong, but the 
King was already at Clermont on his return. Bouille 
followed with his men, hoping to overtake the royal car- 
riage, but he found the road barred by thousands of 
peasants and guardsmen, and gave up the attempt. He 
then returned to Stenay, where at six o'clock that evening 
he bade farewell to his troops, and departed for Belgium 
with a score of his officers. He passed the night at Orval, 
a large convent on the other side of the frontier. When 
he awoke the next morning he remembered that it was 
the Fete-Dieu, the day on which he was to have been 
invested by the King in the cathedral at Montmedy with 
the baton of Marechal de France. He finally retired to 
London, where he died in 1 800, leaving a name forever 
associated with the failure of Varennes. 

Escorted by three thousand men of the National Guard, 
under the leadership of the now famous postmaster 
Drouet, the King reached Sainte-Menehould at one- 
thirty. At eleven o'clock that night he was at Chalons, 
where the royal party for the first time was received with 
much respectful sympathy. 



The following morning, Thursday the 23 June, the day 
of the Fete-Dieu, the King attended Mass. He was forced 
to set out again at noon and arrived early that evening at 
fepernay, a very patriotic city. On leaving Chalons the 
party had abandoned the route taken during the flight, 
and followed the valley of the Marne. Between fipernay 
and Dormans, where they passed the night, the King 
was met by the three commissioners appointed by the 
Assembly to bring him back: Barnave, Petion, and Latour- 
Maubourg. Barnave and Petion entered the carriage, 
the former placing himself between the King and 
Queen on the rear seat, while the latter sat opposite, be- 
tween Madame Elisabeth and Madame de Tourzel. 
Barnave was full of deference and respect for the un- 
fortunate sovereigns, but Petion was insolent in his 

Friday, the heat was terrific, and the guards refused 
to allow the shades of the berline to be lowered, as the 
crowd wished to see the King and the Queen. The night 
was passed at Meaux. 

On Saturday morning the last stage of the journey be- 
gan in a torrid heat. The carriage proceeded slowly in the 
midst of a constantly increasing crowd of curious specta- 
tors. On reaching Paris, instead of following the direct 
route, the cortege skirted the city walls, and entered by 
the Porte de la Conference. The carriage then slowly 
ascended the Champs-filysees, which were packed by 
an enormous crowd, and traversed the Tuileries Gardens 
to the palace. On every wall in the city was affixed a 
proclamation reading: "Whoever applauds the King 
shall be flogged; whoever insults him shall be hanged." 
This order was faithfully obeyed: there were no cheers; 
all the citizens remained covered; and the troops did not 
present arms. Amidst the silence of the people, under the 
rays of the setting sun, the royal carriage advanced at a 
walk, between the serried ranks of the National Guard. 
It was the funeral procession of the Monarchy! 




The King Suspended — The Fiction of Abduction — The Queen 
Writes Fersen — Return of Mme. Campan — The Queen's 
Opinion of Barnave — Their Talks During the Return from 
Varennes — Their Correspondence at Paris — His Admiration 
for Marie-Antoinette — His Personality — The Queen's First 
Letter — Barnave Accepts the Role — The Queen's Duplicity — 
Fersen's Jealousy — Matters Discussed with Barnave — The At- 
titude of Austria — Emigres — Their Activities — The Pillnitz 
Declaration — Evil Results of the Emigration — Acceptance of 
the Constitution — Popular Joy — End of the Constituent As- 
sembly — Barnave's Farewell to the Queen — His Arrest and 

THE whole nation had been thrown into a state of 
consternation by the news of the royal flight. No 
one thought that the country could exist without 
a king. But almost immediately the people regained 
their courage. The Assembly assumed the executive power, 
and deposed the King from his functions. For the first 
time, the word " republic " was pronounced. Many per- 
sons held that the flight was an abdication, and for a 
moment it seemed as if a wave of republicanism was about 
to carry oflF the Bourbon throne. A proposal of this nature 
was made in the Jacobin Club. But Robespierre, with his 
usual timidity, shrank from any decisive action. Not a 
move was made in the direction of the dethronement of 
the King. The constitutional party was unwilling to adopt 
any definite measure. They concluded to replace Louis 
upon his throne, and even to consolidate his authority. It 
was thought necessary to strengthen the executive power in 



order to combat the extreme republican faction, which was 
becoming dangerous. 

It was decided to adopt the English maxim, that the 
king could do no wrong, and hold responsible the men 
who had acted under his express orders. The fiction was 
imagined that the King had been abducted j that he had 
been carried oflF to the frontier by the aristocrats, who 
alone were responsible. In spite of the violent opposition 
of the Left, the decree was adopted on the day follow- 
ing the King's return. He was not declared inviolable, 
however 5 he was practically suspended for the time 
being, and was to continue to be a prisoner in the 

Four days after the return from Varennes, the 29 
June 1 79 1, the Queen wrote to Fersen: 

" I exist! Do not write me: it would compromise us; 
and above all, do not return under any pretext. . . . We 
are kept constantly under watch day and night; I care 
not. Be reassured: nothing will happen to me. The 
Assembly wishes to treat us with kindness. Adieu. I 
cannot write more." 

This hasty, disjointed letter, sums up exactly the 
position of the fugitives. Their lives are safe, but no 
trial, no humiliation is spared them. The Chateau of the 
Tuileries is a prison: all the doors are locked; sentinels 
are posted at all the gates; the apartments of the Queen 
are guarded; an aide de camp of Lafayette even 
passes the night in her bed-chamber, placed behind a 
screen. Letters are opened. The few visitors from the 
city are subjected to formalities so complicated as to 
be ludicrous. 

In spite of her apparent resignation, Marie- Antoinette 
was indignant over this constant surveillance. In order 
not to be exposed to the public gaze, she remained con- 
tinually in her own rooms, not even descending to the 
Gardens to take a little exercise. 

Two months after the fiasco of Varennes, Madame 
Campan returned to Paris, and resumed her duties at 



the Tuileries. She states that she found the features of 
the Queen were not much altered, but her hair had be- 
come as white as that of a woman of seventy. At that time 
most of the harsh precautions had been abandoned: the 
doors were kept open, and greater respect was paid to 
the sovereigns. On the day after her arrival, the Queen 
took Madame Campan into her closet, and said that she 
would have need of her services in a communication 
she had established with Barnave, Duport and Alexandre 
Lameth. The Queen asserted that Barnave was a man 
worthy of esteem. This statement astonished Madame 
Campan very much, for at the time she left Paris, many 
persons spoke of him only with horror. People thought 
that he had a ferocious soul, because, as he himself wrote 
in his Memoirs, he had allowed an unfortunate and 
thoughtless phrase to escape him, at the session of the 
Assembly when Lally-Tollendal called up the question 
of the murder of Bertier. Lally, who had devoted fifteen 
years of his life to defending the memory of his own 
father, was much moved by the terrible event. He spoke 
in the name of a son whose father had just been mur- 
dered, and he records his horror at the action of Barnave, 
a son who was then in mourning for his father, who rose 
and said, " Was the blood which had been shed so pure? " 
Barnave was really neither barbarous nor insensible, but 
like Mirabeau he thought that these excesses were but 
incidents of the reaction against oppression. 

In reply to Madame Campan's expression of astonish- 
ment, Marie-Antoinette said that she was not surprised 
at it, but told her that Barnave was much changed j that 
he was full of talent and noble feeling, and merely 
misled by the ambition to which real merit gives birth. 
"If we get the power into our own hands again," she 
said, " Barnave's pardon is beforehand written in our 
hearts." " The Queen," continues Madame Campan, 
" astonished me more and more by the warmth with 
which she justified the favorable opinion that she had 
formed of Barnave." The Queen also spoke of his 
admirable conduct during the return from Varennes; of 



his respectful delicacy and considerate attentions, which 
had won her esteem. 

At the inns where they alighted, the Queen had several 
opportunities for private conversation with Barnave. He 
spoke of the errors committed by the Royalists during 
the Revolution and said that he had frequently been 
tempted, as a courageous wrestler, who knew the spirit 
of the age and of the nation, to go and oflFer his services 
to the Court whose interests were so feebly defended. 

" What weapons would you have recommended me 
to use? " asked the Queen. 

"Popularity, Madame." 

" And how could I use that of which I had been 
deprived? " 

"Ah! Madame, it would be much easier for you to 
regain it than for me to acquire it." 

For a long time the relations of Marie- Antoinette with 
Barnave were known only through Madame Campan's 
report of this singular conversation. In her " Life of 
Marie-Antoinette " she states further that the Queen 
" put her family letters, a great deal of correspondence, 
which she thought it necessary to preserve for the history 
of the era of the Revolution, and particularly Barnave's 
letters, and her answers, of which she had preserved 
copies, into a portfolio, which she entrusted to M. de 
J — (Jarjayes). That gentleman was unable to save this 
deposit, and it was burnt." Either this statement is 
incorrect, or a copy of the correspondence with Barnave 
was preserved. It passed into the hands of Comte Fersen; 
was kept by his sister, the Comtesse Piper, at the Castle 
of Lofstad in Sweden; and was published by M. de 
Heidenstam in 19 13, under the title " Marie- Antoinette, 
Fersen, et Barnave." The unquestionable authenticity of 
this publication has thrown a brilliant light upon this 
interesting and important episode in the life of the 

Through this correspondence we are able to form an 
opinion of the political motives of the Queen during this 
last phase of the struggle for the Throne. " In it there 






is revealed," says the Marquis de Segur, " a new woman, 
a firm spirit, a clear judgment, breaking courageously 
with prejudices, sacrificing heartily to the necessities of 
the moment, her inmost preferences, having the profound 
instinct of that which, perhaps, might have saved the 
ancient dynasty from foundering. If the attempt failed, 
if the fury of the tempest triumphed over the effort of 
the pilot, the fact of having fought to the bitter end 
remains at least the honor of Marie-Antoinette." 

The story of the first meeting between the Queen and 
Barnave has already been told. Under the trying circum- 
stances of the return from Varennes the ice was quickly 
broken. In the over-crowded berline, with four persons 
on each seat, the Queen held her little son in her arms. 
The tender way in which she cared for him touched the 
heart of the commissioner of the Assembly. What at first 
was only pity for the mother soon changed into admiration 
for the woman. The profound impression which these 
two days left on the mind of Barnave can be read in the 
lines in which he later recorded this great event in his 
life : " Epoch forever fixed in my memory, which has 
furnished so many pretexts for infamous calumny, but 
which, in engraving upon my imagination this memorable 
example of misfortune, has doubtless helped me to 
support more easily my own." 

Born at Grenoble in 1761, Antoine Barnave was then 
thirty years of age. He was of medium height but well- 
made 5 his face longj his mouth large, with heavy lips; 
his expression kind; his voice husky. Under a cold ex- 
terior, he concealed a passionate disposition. He possessed 
a remarkable memory, where everything was classified 
in order. A wonderful extemporaneous speaker, he 
sought less to shine than to convince, and carried his 
points through his manifest sincerity. Owing to this per- 
suasive force he was nearly always victorious in his 
oratorical contests with Mirabeau. Although naturally of 
moderate opinions and opposed to all excess, at the be- 
ginning of the Revolution he had allowed himself to be 
carried away by the fire of his spirit and the tragedy of 




events. Hence the unfortunate remark which after more 
than a century still weighs upon his memory. 

In spite of his advanced ideas, he had retained his 
pleasant manners, and in the salons of the great ladies of 
the day, he was considered a " galant homme." 

When Mirabeau became friendly to the Court, he 
designated Barnave as one of the men whom they could 
and should win over to moderate ideas. Even before the 
Varennes episode, he had become disgusted with the 
violence of the Jacobins. The grace of Marie- Antoinette 
finished his conversion. When they arrived in Paris at 
the end of this memorable journey, the Queen had won 
Barnave, as she had previously conquered Mirabeau — 
only, as Lamartine remarks, " Mirabeau sold himself, 
and Barnave gave himself." 

As above stated, it was the Queen who took the initia- 
tive in this correspondence. The intermediary whom she 
selected seems to have been one of her most faithful 
and ardent supporters, the Chevalier de Jar j ayes, 
whose name Madame Campan conceals under the sobri- 
quet of " M. de J — ." To him she addressed a 
remarkable letter, of which the essential passages were 
as follows: 

" I wish you would endeavor to see M. Barnave, and 
that you would say to him that, struck by his character 
and the frankness which I have recognized in him during 
the two days which we have passed together, I much 
desire to learn from him .what we ought to do under 
the existing circumstances. You will point out to him 
the extreme difficulty that there is for me to communicate 
with any one, no matter who he is. He can count on my 
discretion as well as my character, which will always 
know how to yield to whatever is necessary for the 
general good. We cannot remain as we are 5 it is necessary 
to do something, but what? I do not know. Therefore I 
ask him to advise me. He ought to know from our 
discussions how sincere I am. I shall always be so: it is 
the only advantage which remains for us and which 
never can be taken from me. Let him find a means of 



communicating his ideas to me. I shall reply frankly in 
all respects. 

" I count entirely upon the zeal, the force and the 
intelligence of M. Barnave — not merely for our 
persons, but for the State and the public weal, which are 
so identified with the person of the King and his son 
that they can only be one. It is therefore to the man who 
most loves the people and his country, and whom I con- 
sider the most adroit, that I address myself to save the 
one and the other j for, once more, they cannot be 

Barnave accepted without hesitation the role which was 
offered him. He only asked permission to call to his assist- 
ance two friends, Duport and Lameth, who would lay 
out with him a plan of action. They were both former 
Jacobins, and with him had recently resigned from the 
club. The long political notes sent to the Queen were 
therefore the joint production of the triumvirate; 
but Barnave was the soul of the association, and it was he 
who was to pay with his head for having responded to 
the appeal of Marie-Antoinette. 

Knowing, as we do, the character of the Queen, the 
question at once arises: How sincere was Marie- Antoi- 
nette in this matter? It must be admitted that this is not 
an easy question to answer. In her letters at this time to 
her intimate friends we find statements which leave little 
doubt that she was playing a double game, and using 
the devotion of Barnave to gain her own ends. To Fersen 
she writes: " I am keeping for you, for the happy time 
when we shall see each other again, a volume of very 
curious correspondence. No one in the world suspects it." 

In the same vein she writes to Mercy: " At this 
moment I am carrying on a correspondence with Lameth 
and Barnave of which every one is ignorant, even their 
friends. It is necessary to do them justice: although they 
always hold firmly to their opinions, I have never seen 
in them anything except a great frankness, force, and 
a real desire to restore order, and consequently the royal 



On another occasion she exclaims: " You will never be 
able to believe how much it costs me to do what I am 
doing now." 

But in her letters to Fersen, she goes further. She 
gives him to understand that, in having recourse to these 
persons, whom Fersen terms " les enrages," she only 
wishes to hoodwink them, to make use of them without 
putting herself in their hands j that, in short, she is play- 
ing a comedy, of which she is at times very tired. One 
of her letters ends with this sentence, very difficult for 
her admirers to explain: "What happiness if I can one 
day again become powerful enough to prove to all these 
scoundrels that I was not their dupe! " 

That Marie-Antoinette was playing a double game is 
also shown quite clearly in the confidential letters from 
her friends. Mercy and Fersen, in particular, express 
their surprise and indignation at her course of action, 
and load her with reproaches. 

Troubled by the warnings of her dearest friends, the 
Queen has many moments of doubt and hesitation. When 
she reads the notes of Barnave, and, above all, when she 
talks with him, she is full of hope and confidence that 
she will be saved by his support. When Mercy reveals 
his suspicions, she is once more uncertain, and inclined to 
draw back. 

In the case of Fersen, there is another element to take 
into account. From his letters to the Queen it is quite 
evident that his jealousy has been aroused by her intimate 
relations with a man so young, so distinguished, and so 
seductive as Barnave. So deep is his hatred of his sup- 
posed rival, that he goes so far as to desire his death. 
When he learned the following year of the arrest of 
Barnave, he wrote: "I sincerely hope that he will be 
executed: no one has better deserved it! " 

One of the strongest admirers of Marie-Antoinette, in 
his attempt to defend her memory from this charge of 
duplicity, makes an admission even more damaging to 
her character. The Marquis de Segur says: 

" Le flair subtil de Marie-Antoinette a vite pergu cette 



nuance (de jalousie). De la la peine qu'elle prend pour 
dissiper les injustes soupgons. Ce qui semble duplicite 
n'est que la tendre soin d'une ame aimante et douce 
pour rassurer Pami lointain a qui seul appartient son 

The questions discussed in the course of this volumi- 
nous correspondence with Barnave were principally three 
in number: (i) The attitude of Austria j (2) The ques- 
tion of the Emigres j and (3) The acceptance of the 

The first object proposed for the action of the Queen 
was to secure the support of Austria, and prevent her, on 
the one hand, from making common cause with the 
Emigres, and, on the other, from allying herself with 
Prussia and Russia, who were showing a disposition to 
intervene in the internal affairs of France. The Queen 
did not decline the task, but had little hope of success. 
Her eldest brother, Joseph, was dead, and she had not 
seen Leopold, the present Emperor, in twenty-six yearSj 
or since he left Vienna when she was a little girl of ten 
years. During the past year, he had shown a more broth- 
erly disposition, but she felt that she had no real influence 
over him. Nevertheless, she wrote Leopold a letter, 
which is now lost, to which he replied a month later in 
very ambiguous terms. In fact, the Emperor was drawing 
nearer to Berlin, and it seemed as if Austria and Prussia 
were at last resolved to act together. The Emperor and 
the King had a conference at Pillnitz, but Leopold was 
far from desiring war, and sought means of delaying the 
contest. In deference to the wishes of the Emigres, how- 
ever, the sovereigns drew up a very ambiguous and 
perfectly inoffensive Declaration, by the terms of which 
all intervention was made dependent upon a general 
European agreement. 

But the Emigres turned this mild document into an 
instrument of the most revolting description. This paper, 
known as the Coblentz Manifesto, practically sealed the 
fate of Louis the Sixteenth. The King's brothers seemed 



bent on his destruction. When the Queen read at the 
bottom of this paper the names of Provence and Artois 
she uttered only one word, " Cain! " 

At this time the fimigres were in a state of disappoint- 
ment and fury. After Varennes the emigration had 
recommenced, stronger than ever. It was encouraged by 
the royal princes, who insisted that the place of honor 
for the noblesse was beyond the frontiers. Already many 
of the nobles and public officials had left France, as well 
as a large number of the officers of the army and navy. 
At the end of 1791, there were 20,000 emigres living at 
Coblentz. The Comte de Provence had proclaimed him- 
self " Regent," and was holding his " Court " at Brus- 
sels. Monsieur and the Comte d' Artois were advised by 
Calonne, the Prime Minister of the fimigres; and ambas- 
sadors were sent to the foreign Courts, where they were 
very coldly received, except by the King of Sweden, 
who was residing at Aix-la-Chapelle. Without consulting 
the Powers, plans were drawn up for the invasion of 
France, and the taking of Paris was to be followed by 
the execution of all the Revolutionary leaders, including 
La Fayette and Barnave. 

By sheer pertinacity Artois obtained the Emperor's 
permission, which he called an " invitation," to be 
present at the chateau of Pillnitz during the meeting of 
two sovereigns. Leopold, who was seeking every means 
of avoiding a contest, received him very coldly. Fred- 
erick William and his favorite Hohenlohe, won over by 
bribes and female wiles, were in favor of a war, which 
they thought might give them Alsace. Leopold was en- 
tirely satisfied with the Declaration of the 27 August, 
for he knew that England, under the leadership of Pitt, 
would remain neutral, and any concert of the Powers 
was impossible. 

Artois, who had been joined at Pillnitz by Calonne, 
Bouille, Conde, and Polignac, made much of the Decla- 
ration; but at the bottom they were all much disap- 
pointed. Their celebrated Manifesto, while it did nothing 
to advance their interests, was sufficient, in the words of 



Rivarol, a strong royalist, " to rally the hearts and minds 
of all men to the Legislative Body." 

In the opinion of Barnave and his associates, the pro- 
longed absence of the King's brothers, and of a large 
part of the noblesse, was one of the principal causes of 
the popular irritation, and increased the suspicions 
regarding the sovereigns. They felt that the Queen 
would render a great public service if she could induce at 
least the royal princes to return, if not all of the volun- 
tary exiles. The Queen agreed with these views, but she 
had no illusions respecting her influence with the princes 
and their partisans. Nevertheless she made several at- 
tempts in this direction. She wrote a personal letter to 
Monsieur, and also persuaded the King to do the same, 
but without any success. The only result of her efforts 
was to exasperate further the Coblentz faction. They 
took the ground now that the safety of the King and 
Queen was of less importance than that of the Monarchy, 
by which they meant, the restoration of the Old Regime 
with all its abuses. 

The only tangible result of the common efforts of the 
Queen and the triumvirate was the acceptance by the 
King of the Constitution. At the session of the third of 
September 1791 the Assembly had passed the measure, 
and it only awaited the royal sanction. This work, con- 
structed in haste, and full of defects, was modelled in 
many points upon the English practice, and left to the 
King at least an appearance of authority. In the opinion 
of Barnave, no prince in Europe was more securely seated 
upon his throne than the King of France. Marie-Antoi- 
nette was far from sharing this confidence j and she 
showed the same sagacity when it came to the form of 
the letter of acceptance. The advisers had sent a draft 
of a long and verbose address to be used by the King. 
This did not please the Queen. " I think," she said, 
" that the speech of the King should be brief and digni- 

The Constitution was presented to the King on the 
fourth, and on the 13 September was accepted by him in 



a dignified letter. The following day he went to the 
Assembly and read his letter. He was received with 
demonstrations of enthusiasm. Even the Queen, who had 
smiled graciously, was cheered by the deputies, which 
proved " the power the Queen might wield," as La 
Marck wrote her, " if she could overcome her private 
feelings and cajole this frivolous and fickle people." 

On the seventeenth all Paris was making holiday. The 
King promenaded the Tuileries Gardens, amidst the 
illuminations, and then went out as far as Chaillot, 
greeted by constant cheers. There was the same warm 
reception by the public at the Theatre Italien where the 
Queen went with her children. The throne seemed to 
have recovered a part of its prestige, the sovereigns, some 
of their liberty. Visitors were allowed freely to enter the 
Chateau and the Gardens. Royalist pieces were played 
and loudly applauded in all the theatres. On the 25 
September there was more rejoicing in the capital, and 
that night the whole city was lighted up. Paris, hung 
with tricolor flags, was celebrating " the end of the Revo- 

On the day that the Legislative Body was dissolved, 
Louis repaired to the Manege, and this time the 
Assembly really greeted him as King. The cheering was 
long and loud. The King stated that the end of the 
Revolution had arrived; and this seems to have been the 
general opinion throughout France. People who had 
been living in terror since the fall of the Bastille began 
to breathe anew. 

The feeling was very different, however, at Coblentz, 
where the course of the Queen was stigmatized as 
"cowardly." She was branded as democratey Louis, as 
soliveau (a mere cipher of a king). The reports in the 
journals of the address of the King, and his reception by 
the deputies, provoked cries of fury. 

The Constituent Assembly, with the adoption of the 
Constitution, had finished its career. Bamave and his 
fnends were not members of the new Legislative 



Assembly, but they continued to advise the Queen. It 
was at this time that the secret interviews began between 
Barnave and Marie-Antoinette. Almost at the beginning 
of the correspondence the Queen had expressed the desire 
to meet and talk with her advisers. While she was a 
prisoner, this was impossible, but now that she had par- 
tially regained her liberty the plan was feasible. Barnave 
met the Queen a number of times and had many confi- 
dential conversations with her. This intercourse ended 
with his departure at the close of the year. Discouraged 
by the political outlook; finding that the Queen did not 
follow his counsel in anything; and convinced that she 
placed all her reliance on assistance from abroad, Barnave 
decided to leave Paris and establish himself at Grenoble, 
his native place. Madame Campan tells us the story of 
his last audience with Marie- Antoinette: 

" Your misfortunes, Madame," said he, " and those 
which I anticipate for France, determined me to sacrifice 
myself to serve you. I see that my advice does not agree 
with the views of Your Majesties. I augur but little 
advantage from the plan you are induced to pursue; you 
are too remote from your succors, you will be lost before 
they reach you. Most ardently do I wish that I may be 
mistaken in so lamentable a prediction. I am sure to pay 
with my head for the interest that your misfortunes have 
inspired in me, and for the services which I have wished 
to render you. I request, for my sole reward, the honor 
of kissing your hand." 

The Queen, her eyes suffused with tears, granted him 
that favor. They were never to meet again. 

Faithful to her promise, Marie- Antoinette confided 
to Fersen all the letters and all the papers which might 
have compromised her friend; but the King forgot in 
one of his cabinets a note which revealed the dangerous 
mystery. Found after the sack of the Tuileries in August 
1792, this paper led to the arrest of Barnave at Grenoble. 
After languishing ten months in prison, he was conducted 
to Paris in a miserable cart, followed on foot by his 
mother and sister. On the 27 November 1793 he appeared 



before the Tribunal, and his head fell the following day. 
The memory of the noble and touching sympathy, 
awakened during the return from Varennes, and his 
courageous tight to save the Throne, are an honor to his 
name, and go far to wipe out the remembrance of his 
earlier mistakes. 




End of the Constituent Assembly — Its Great Work — The Legisla- 
tive Assembly — Its Members — The Girondins — The Enrages 
— The New Salons — Mesdames de Genlis and de Stael — 
The Cafes and Theatres — Fersen's Last Visit — His Fate — 
Death of Gustavus the Third — The " Iron Closet " — Ques- 
tion of the Emigres — The Army of Conde — The Strasbourg 
Plot — The Priests — The November Decrees — Resignation of 
La Fayette — Petion Elected Mayor — The Desire for War — 
Narbonne, Minister — His Fall — The New Ministry — Du- 
mouriez and Roland — The Fair Manon 

ON the last day of September 1791 the Constituent 
Assembly held its final session. The King was 
present, and was received by the deputies with 
respect. He renewed his oath to observe the Constitution; 
then Thouret, who presided, made a final speech, thank- 
ing the King for his sanction, and extolling the liberties 
just won for France; at four o'clock he declared the 
Assembly dissolved. 

Thouret was the greatest provincial lawyer elected to 
the States-General, and was early recognized as one of 
the ablest speakers in that body. He was born in 1746 
at Pont-P6veque, in Normandie; was educated at Caen; 
became an avocat at Rouen, and in time the leader of the 
bar there. In 1789 he was elected first deputy for the 
Third Estate at Rouen. In September he was appointed 
a member of the constitutional committee, and in October 
became its spokesman. In January 1790 he was elected 
president of the Assembly; and the following year he 
took a prominent part in the final revision of the con- 



stitution. In recognition of his services in this connection, 
in September 1791 he was elected the last president of 
the Assembly, and in that capacity presented the Con- 
stitution to the King for his assent. After the flight to 
Varennes, his opinions had become less revolutionary, 
and his reactionary tendencies were not forgotten by the 
Jacobins, who took their revenge in April 1794, when 
he was guillotined with Espremenil and Malesherbes. 

Without, on the Terrace of the Feuillants, an immense 
crowd had assembled to greet the retiring members. 
Louis was welcomed with cries of " Vive le Roi! " Petion 
and Robespierre had popular ovations j Malouet was 
hissed J and Barnave, Duport and the Lameths were 
received with curses. 

" Strange indeed had been the fluctuations of popular 
applause during the two years' session of the Constituent 
Assembly," writes Professor Stephens. " Idols had been 
cast down and new idols had been set upj but there must 
have been some deputies of the Assembly itself, and 
some, even many, of that cheering, enthusiastic crowd, 
who remembered the one great man, who will ever 
remain the true hero, as well as the greatest statesman 
and greatest orator of the Constituent Assembly — the 
great Mirabeau." 

At the close of the history of the famous Assembly, it 
is proper to speak of the good it did, rather than of the 
mistakes it made. Much of its work has never been un- 
done. It abolished feudal privileges, and established 
civil equality. It limited the royal authority, and placed 
the political power of the Nation in the hands of its 
chosen representatives. It reformed justice, and instituted 
the jury in criminal cases. It modified the fiscal regime, 
and made the taxes uniform for all classes. It suppressed 
all the barriers to liberty of work, and to the free circu- 
lation of products in the interior of France: it thus gave 
the impulse to individual initiative, which was to increase 
the power and the riches of the country in a marvellous 
manner, and make France the first great modern State 



of the Continent. Last, but not least, it abolished the old 
provinces, each with its own dialect and own laws, and 
made all the inhabitants Frenchmen, and not Picards or 

The old deputies, departing weary of their work, had 
decreed that none of their number should be a member 
of the new Assembly — a fatal mistake. The composition 
of the new Legislative Assembly, which met on the first 
of October, was in every respect different from that of 
its predecessor. As in the first Assembly, there was a. 
large proportion of lawyers, but on the other hand there 
was a smaller number of priests, and many more pro- 
fessional politicians. The most striking feature was the 
large number of men of scientific and literary ability, 
such as Carnot, Brissot and Condorcet. 

Brissot, who was born at Chartres in 1754, like many 
actors in the Revolution was educated for the bar. As 
a deputy for Paris in the National Assembly, he wielded 
considerable influence, and became one of the leaders of 
the Girondins. In the Convention, he voted for the death 
of the King, but hoped that an appeal to the nation would 
save him. After the fall of the Girondins, he was exe- 
cuted with twenty of his party on the 31 October 1793. 

Condorcet was born in 1743, the son of a cavalry officer 
stationed near Saint Quentin. He was educated by the 
Jesuits at Reims, and then at the College de Navarre, 
where he was a brilliant scholar. He was elected to the 
Legislative Assembly of 1791, and became president in 
1792. In the Convention, as a rule, he voted with the 
Girondins. He voted against the death of the King, but 
in favor of the severest punishment. Accused by the ex- 
treme Left, he hid for eight months, but on changing 
his refuge was arrested; the next day he was found dead, 
whether by suicide was never positively known. 

In the new Assembly, the Royalists were few in 
number, but contained many men of ability. Among the 
ablest was the ci-devant Comte de Vaublanc. He was the 
son of a Burgundian nobleman by a rich Creole, and was 



born on the island of Saint-Domingue in 1755. At the 
age of seven he was taken to Paris, and educated there 
at the ficole Militaire. In 1774 he became an officer in 
the Regiment de la Sarre, and then went to his native 
island, where he married. On his return to France in 
1782 he left the army and established himself near 
Melun. In 1 79 1 he was elected deputy to the Legislative 
Assembly, by the department of the Seine-et-Marne. 

The strongest party numerically in the whole Assembly 
was that of the Feuillants. Their two most distinguished 
leaders were Mathieu Dumas, a young aide de camp of 
La Fayette, and the learned jurist. Bigot. 

Dumas was the son of a treasurer of the finances, and 
was born at Montpellier in 1753. He entered the army 
in 1767, and was an aide de camp of General de Rocham- 
beau in America. He was a frequent attendant at the 
sittings of the Constituent Assembly, and became well 
known to the deputies, who entrusted him with several 
important missions. While engaged in this work he was 
elected to the Legislative Assembly by the department 
of Seine-et-Oise. 

Bigot was the son of an avocat at Rennes, where he 
was born in 1 747. After taking the degree of Doctor of 
Laws at the university there in 1768, he came to Paris 
to practice his profession. He became one of the early 
members of the Jacobin Club, and in September 1791 
he was elected as one of the deputies for the capital to 
the Legislative Assembly. 

Upon the opening day, there sat on the left of the 
Assembly a small number of deputies from Bordeaux. 
They were Vergniaud, Guadet and Gensonne, all men 
of great distinction, but all dreamers. They were destined 
to short but brilliant careers, and were all to die miser- 
ably. This was the nucleus of the future Girondin party, 
which took its name from the new department of the 
Gironde, of which the great city of Bordeaux was the 
capital. The name was later extended so as to include 
many men who had no connection with the Gironde. 

Vergniaud, who was not only the greatest orator of 



the Girondins, but also of the Revolutionary period, was 
born at Limoges in 1753. He attracted the attention of 
Turgot when he was intendant of Limousin, and he gave 
him a scholarship at Paris. He afterwards studied law, 
and was admitted to the bar at Bordeaux in 1781. He 
soon obtained a large practice, and his eloquence led to 
his election to the new Assembly in 1791. At Paris he 
justified the high reputation he had won, and became 
the leader of the Republican party. But he was an orator 
rather than a statesman, and his great indolence prevented 
him from attaining the position his talents deserved. 

His two colleagues, Guadet and Gensonne, were dis- 
tinguished rather as adroit politicians than as orators. 
They were both leading members of the bar at Bordeaux 
at the time of their election to the Assembly. 

The leaders of the small but noisy party of the 
" Enrages " were Merlin de Thionville, Chabot and 
Basire. Merlin came of a good bourgeois family of 
Thionville, where he was born in 1762. He studied law 
at Paris, and was admitted to the bar at his native place, 
where he attained great success. In the Assembly he was 
one of the leaders of the extreme party, and opposed all 
the measures advanced by the King or his ministers; 
but later he became one of the grandest figures in the 
Convention, famous as a representative on mission, and, 
after the fall of Robespierre, as a statesman with a pro- 
found knowledge of foreign affairs. 

Chabot had been a Capuchin friar; and Basire, an 
avocat. They were closely connected in the Assembly and 
the Convention, and both were finally guillotined on the 
same day. 

These were the chief new men sent up from the 
provinces to the new Assembly, and they were all remark- 
able for their extreme youth. With the exception of 
Bigot, who was forty-four, they were all under forty, 
and their youth partly accounts for their enthusiasm. 

The Paris of 1791, which so greatly attracted the 
Girondins, and had such immense influence on the Revo- 



lution, resembled the Paris of 1789 only in one point, and 
that was its gaiety. Places of amusement of every kind 
had increased and multiplied, and the young deputies 
from the provinces yielded easily to the fascination of 
the capital. Most of the old Royalist salons had dis- 
appeared, but new ones had taken their places. The 
leaders of the new society were Madame de Genlis and 
Madame de Stael. 

Madame de Genlis, the former governess of the 
children of the Due d'Orleans, had moved from her 
old residence in the Rue Saint-Dominique, and had taken 
a house in the Rue Saint-Honore, close to the Manege j 
here she received her old friends, and some new ones, 
whose names were to be even more famous. But there 
was a new salon, where a younger woman reigned, which 
completely outshone the old meeting-places of 1789, and 
that was the home of Madame de Stael. 

Madame de Stael, the daughter of Necker, and the 
wife of the Swedish ambassador, was then at the height 
of her reputation as a woman of politics and of society. 
She had been prominent ever since her marriage to the 
Baron de Stael-Holstein in 1787, when she was only 
twenty-one years of age. The particular star of her 
entourage at this time was Comte Louis de Narbonne, 
one of the first of her numerous band of lovers. Her 
affection for him was well known to all the world, and 
she cared not who knew it. At that time she was quite 
a fervent Royalist, but neither the King nor the Queen 
liked her or her coterie. Her power, however, was very 
great in Paris, and the King was finally forced to yield 
to her wishes, and admit Narbonne to the ministry. 

The diminution in the number of the salons had in- 
creased the importance of the cafes, which by the end of 
1 79 1 had become the rendez-vous for the politicians. 
But the cafes which were prominent during the Revolu- 
tion were not the same as those which were frequented by 
the writers and the artists earlier in the century. Notable 
among the new places were the Cafes de Valois, de la 
Regence and de Foy. The first named was the favorite 





meeting-place of the Feuillantsj the second, the resort o£ 
the friends of La Fayette, and of the officers of the 
National Guard, who held their dinners there. But the 
most famous of all was the Cafe de Foy, which was 
frequented by the stock-speculators, who made money 
quickly and spent it lavishly. 

The theatres of Paris had naturally been affected by 
the Revolutionary fervor. The Royalist actors of the 
Theatre-Frangais objected to giving Republican plays, 
and in April 1791 broke away and took the old theatre, 
where the Odeon now stands. Here they gave pieces 
which pleased their Royalist supporters, but correspond- 
ingly disgusted their neighbors, the Cordeliers, who two 
years later secured the arrest of the entire company. 

On the other hand, the Jacobin actors, headed by 
Talma, migrated to a theatre in the Rue Richelieu, which 
they renamed the Theatre-Frangais de la Rue Richelieu. 
It is hardly necessary to say that this house was the most 
popular with the masses in the Paris of that day. 

In February 1792, a month after the departure of 
Barnave, Comte Fersen arrived at Paris from Brussels. 
He came under an assumed name, with a false passport, 
and disguised with a big perruque. On the thirteenth, 
after dark, he visited the Tuileries, where he saw the 
Queen for a moment. The following day he was received 
again, and this time the King was present. A week later 
he came for the third time, and took supper with the 
sovereigns. At midnight he left for Brussels. 

The object of Fersen's return to Paris was to arrange 
for a new flight, but he was met by a firm refusal. The 
King, on account of his promise to remain, was not willing 
to make the attempt, and could not, if he would, in view 
of the close watch which was kept. 

In leaving, Fersen carried away grave doubts regarding 
the security of the sovereigns. They were no longer able 
to leave the Tuileries, and their lives were in constant 
danger. Under these circumstances the Queen was finally 
forced to admit that there was no hope for succor except 



from abroad. Up to this time she had always resolutely 
opposed the plans of the Emigres for foreign interven- 

This was the final meeting between Fersen and the 
Queen, although they continued to correspond until the 
end. The depths of his despair, on learning of her cap- 
tivity, are depicted in his letters to his sister 5 and after 
the final catastrophe it is impossible to read without 
emotion his heart-broken cries. Even a year after her 
death he writes to his sister: " Her loss will be the great 
sorrow of my lifej never have I loved her so dearly." 
From the moment that he made his last adieux to Marie- 
Antoinette, his life was only one long torment. Loaded 
with honors under the reign of Gustavus the Fourth: 
senator, chancellor of the Academie d'Upsal, grand 
marechal of the kingdom of Sweden, he bore at the 
bottom of his heart a wound which nothing could heal. 
On the anniversary of the flight to Varennes, the 20 
June 1 8 10, he lost his life in an emeute in the streets of 
Stockholm, an innocent victim also of popular frenzy. 

Such was the end of this long liaison, the only romance 
in the life of Marie- Antoinette ! 

Within the short space of three weeks, after Fersen's 
visit, Marie-Antoinette was to mourn the sudden loss 
of the two sovereigns from whom she expected succor: 
her brother, the Emperor Leopold, and the King of 
Sweden, Gustavus the Third. On the first day of March, 
Leopold died suddenly, and on the sixteenth, Gustavus 
was assassinated. 

On the return of Gustavus from Aix-la-Chapelle to 
Stockholm, he had formed the plan for a great autocratic 
crusade, as the champion of "divine right," and the 
savior of the French Throne. In the autumn of 1791, 
the King actively began preparations for war. He had 
taken into his service the Marquis de Bouille, who had 
left France at the time of the failure of the flight to 
Varennes. This able general was to assist in his councils, 
and to fight with him under the flag of Sweden. 



At this time a plot was formed against the King by 
a number of nobles, who felt that they had personal 
grudges against him. During the following six months 
the conspirators had several opportunities for carrying 
out their plans, but at the last moment their courage 
failed them. Finally, they decided to take advantage of 
the occasion of the last masqued ball of the season, to 
be held at the Opera on the night of the i6 March 1792, 
at which Gustavus was to be present. The King received 
several warnings to be on his guard, but paid no attention 
to them. On the night in question, after appearing for a 
moment in his box, he descended to the floor of the ball- 
room and made a tour of the hall. He then entered the 
foyer, where he promenaded for several minutes. Here 
he was mortally wounded in the left hip, by a shot from 
a pistol, fired by one of the conspirators. He lingered for 
thirteen days, and then met his end with a calm and 
resignation which excited the admiration of every one. 
He passed away on the morning of the 29 March 1792, 
at the age of forty-six. 

At Paris the news of his death was hailed with joy 
by the Jacobins, while Louis and Marie-Antoinette were 
overwhelmed with grief at the tragic end of their faithful 
friend. The assassination of Gustavus inaugurated a 
series of great catastrophes: the 16 March was to be the 
prelude to the 21 January. 

About this time the King fell into a state of despon- 
dency, which amounted almost to nervous prostration. 
He passed days at a time without uttering a single word. 
He took no exercise, and his only distraction was a game 
of backgammon which he played with his sister after 
dinner. The Queen finally succeeded in arousing him 
from this condition. 

Louis had an immense quantity of State papers, many 
of them dating back to the two previous reigns, and he 
conceived the idea of making with a locksmith, who had 
worked with him for many years at his favorite pastime, 
a place of concealment in an inner corridor of his apart- 



ment. This was the famous " Iron Closet " {Armoire de 
Fer). The wall in which it was hidden was painted to 
imitate large stones, and the opening was entirely con- 
cealed among the rabbets, which were painted brown in 
imitation of mortar joints. This depository might never 
have been discovered except for the treachery of the 
workman, in whom from long habit the King placed too 
much confidence. He was a secret Jacobin, and informed 
the Assembly of the existence of the closet. 

As already stated, the leaders of the new Assembly 
were from the provinces, and the question of the Emigres 
was one which affected the country districts more than the 
cities. It was therefore one of the first matters to be 
discussed by the deputies. The nation and the representa- 
tives thought that the fimigres were much more dan- 
gerous than they really were. The Declaration of Pillnitz 
and the Coblentz Manifesto had aroused legitimate anger 
in the country. That the King's brothers should have 
signed these papers was regarded as an affront to the 
nation. The nobles were departing in greater numbers 
every day. They were treated as outcasts in the provinces 
and their lives were in constant danger. Crowded on the 
banks of the Rhine, they were awaiting events. Many 
of them would have liked to return, and would have 
done so if the Assembly had pursued a more liberal 

But unfortunately another section of the fimigres was 
stirring up indignation rather than pity. They were 
arming on the eastern frontier and threatening their 
countrymen with war and destruction. They had formed 
a legion called the " Army of Conde." The Prince de 
Conde, a veteran of the Seven Years' War, and the only 
living Bourbon who had shown any signs of military 
ability, had established his headquarters at Worms, in 
the palace of the Elector-Archbishop of Mayence. With 
his son, the Due de Bourbon, and his grandson, the Due 
d'Enghien, he was organizing an army of emigres for the 
invasion of France. It was these activities which twelve 



years later formed the basis of the charges brought 
against Enghien, and led to his execution by Napoleon. 
The nucleus of this army was: the cavalry regiments, 
Royal-Allemand and Dauphin 5 the hussars of Berchinyj 
and the Irish regiment of Berwick, which had all deserted 
en masse and crossed the frontier with their officers. 
Cardinal de Rohan, Vicomte de Mirabeau, and other 
nobles, had also raised regiments, or legions as they were 
called in Germany. These organizations took the names 
of the old household corps, or of the regiments of noble 
cavalry and infantry. By the end of 1791, Conde had 
under his command about 23,000 men, including the 
flower of the French nobility. This army, which did not 
want in courage, though not very amenable to discipline, 
was a real source of danger to France. 

The Emperor Leopold, the Duke of Wiirtemberg, 
the Elector of Bavaria, and the Margrave of Baden, in 
fact all of the South German princes, were disturbed by 
the presence of this army, and disliked and feared it as 
much as the French Assembly. 

Under the circumstances, Conde saw the necessity of 
establishing himself in France, before he was expelled 
from Germany, and his army disbanded. He began to 
scheme to get possession of Strasbourg, a strong fortress, 
close to the frontier, which would make an ideal head- 
quarters for his army. The city was garrisoned by about 
15,000 men, mostly new recruits, under the command of 
Marshal Luckner, a soldier of fortune, whom they 
thought it would be easy to win over. But the well-laid 
scheme was foiled. The young Prince de Broglie arrived 
in January to take up his post as chief of staff to Luckner, 
and his presence was enough by itself to confirm the old 
marshal's loyalty to his adopted country. A month later, 
the protests of the South German princes, supported by 
the Emperor Leopold, forced Conde to leave Worms 
and retire further into Germany. The importance of 
this plot cannot be overestimated, although it has been 
characterized by one brilliant writer as smacking of 
"comic opera." The Legislative Assembly was well 



justified in treating the matter seriously, and in adopting 
decrees regarding the Emigres. 

Another burning question was that of the priests who 
had not taken the oath. The hostility of these men to the 
new regime was undeniable, but it was directed against 
the new arrangement as to religion, and in no sense 
against the new civil laws. The various local movements, 
however, were declared to be the outcome of a vast plot 
among the priests to overturn the Constitution, and this 
was used as a pretext for treating the priests, like the 
fimigres, as " accomplices of the foreigners." 

In the debate, lasting over eleven sittings, the fimigres 
were dealt with first. The new leaders of the Gironde 
came to the front and took the leading part. Brissot and 
Isnard proposed measures of the greatest severity. 
Vergniaud's eloquent address was frantically applauded. 
As to the royal princes, everybody was agreed. By a 
unanimous vote. Monsieur was called on to return to 
France within two months, on pain of losing his rights 
both as to the regency and the throne. 

The fate of the fimigres was settled on the ninth of 
November. The decree declared that every emigre who 
was not back in France by the first of January 1792 was 
to incur the penalty of death and confiscation. To the 
honor of Condorcet be it said that he opposed this 
abominable measure. 

Twenty days later came the turn of the priests. After 
a debate which raged through ten whole sittings the 
decree was voted: the priests were ordered to take the 
oath on pain of being treated as suspected rebels. 

When the decrees were submitted to the King, he 
accepted the first, regarding his brother, but refused his 
sanction to the other two. This veto marks the beginning 
of the crisis which ended in the fall of the Throne. 

These November decrees seemed to the King to be 
contrary to the Declaration of Rights and to the Con- 
stitution, and in this position he was warmly supported 
by many men of moderate views. He might, in fact, 
have succeeded in averting the crisis, if at that very 



moment there had not come a sudden and hostile change 
in the attitude of Europe, brought about by the machina- 
tions of the Emigres, which rendered futile the best 
efforts of the King and his ministers. 

At the close of the year it became apparent that the 
King's veto had increased his unpopularity and rendered 
his position more dangerous. La Fayette, who was now 
out of favor with the National Guard, resigned his com- 
mand in disgust. Still more important was the change in 
the mayoralty: Bailly resigned, after more than two 
years of perpetual worry. The poor old man had done 
his best, but he had not the force to fill a position so 
difficult, in a time which demanded a firm ruler. 
La Fayette had the temerity to propose himself for the 
vacant office, but was defeated on the 17 November by 
Petion, the candidate of the Jacobins, who was elected by 
a triumphant majority. 

Petion was the deputy of the extreme Left who had 
shared the ovation of Robespierre the day of the adjourn- 
ment of the Constituent Assembly. But, unlike Robes- 
pierre, who possessed many of the qualities of a great 
statesman, Petion was a very vain, ordinary, and incompe- 
tent man. His rudeness during the return from Varennes 
had disgusted the royal family, and he now showed his 
Republican simplicity by refusing to go to the Tuileries 
on the first of January to offer his congratulations on the 
" Jour de PAn," a formality which Bailly, with the 
grace of an old courtier, had never neglected. While the 
people admired the austere Robespierre, Petion, with his 
handsome face and pleasant personality, had won their 
hearts, and he was adored until his weakness became 

The Girondins were now anxious to come into power, 
and were bent on expelling the Feuillant ministry. The 
election of Petion had encouraged them. The attitude of 
the foreign Powers was not satisfactory, but the actions 
of the Girondins made it worse. The country, moved by 
a mysterious impulse, was beginning to desire war, and 
the dominant party in the Assembly only followed the 



trend of public opinion. The King did not wish for war, 
but he yielded to pressure and appointed Narbonne Min- 
ister of War. 

This lover of Madame de Stael was a man of great 
charm, with a very noble nature. It was said that the 
blood of Henri Quatre flowed in his veins. He was born 
in 1755, of an old Spanish family, and was therefore 
quite young when he entered office. His mother had been 
lady of honor to the Duchess of Parma, aunt of Louis 
the Sixteenth. He was brought to Versailles when only 
a child, and was educated under the eyes of the King's 
aunts. He was very ambitious, and after marrying a rich 
heiress in 1782 he took lessons in international law to fit 
himself for public life. He had a distinguished career 
in the army, and was later to figure honorably among the 
aides de camp of Napoleon. Madame de Stael had set 
her heart on his becoming minister, and he owed his 
appointment largely to her intrigues. 

Narbonne himself desired war. He realized that the 
Army was falling to pieces from desertions, and he 
thought that only a foreign war would bring the men 
back to their sense of duty. He also felt that this was 
the surest way of restoring the King's prestige, and saving 
the Throne. After a tour of inspection to the eastern 
frontier, he declared that the troops and the fortresses 
alike were ready. For one short hour he was the most 
popular man in France. This alarmed the extreme Left, 
and in the Jacobin Club he was bitterly attacked by 
Robespierre. The Court party failed to support him. 
Marie-Antoinette hated him on account of his relations 
with Madame de Stael, and once more her evil genius 
asserted itself. After holding office only three months, 
Narbonne was forced to retire. Within a week, all of the 
old ministers sent in their resignations. The Girondins 
were masters of the field. 

The most important members of the new ministry 
were Dumouriez, Minister of Foreign AflFairs, and Ro- 
land, who had the portfolio of the Interior. 

Dumouriez, whose real name was Charles-Francois 



Duperier, was born at Cambrai in 1739, of a family of 
the noblesse de la robe. His was educated at the College 
Louis-le-Grand, at Paris, and afterwards entered the army 
and served with great distinction through the Seven 
Years' War, receiving twenty-two wounds. He was then 
placed on the retired list, with the Cross of Saint-Louis 
and a small pension. Later he was employed by the 
great minister Choiseul in many secret missions, which 
finally landed him in the Bastille, where he remained six 
months. Released upon the accession of Louis the Six- 
teenth, he returned to the army, and was in command of 
a regiment at Cherbourg at the outbreak of the Revolu- 
tion. A hard liver, and a braggart, but with agreeable 
manners, this grandson of Moliere's lackey " had played 
as many parts as one of Lesage's heroes, and resembled 
one of Beaumarchais' valets in character." 

Roland, the most important colleague of Dumouriez, 
also belonged to the noblesse de la robe, and was born 
near Lyon in 1734. At an early age he entered the civil 
service, and was for many years inspector-general of 
factories at Amiens. In 1786 he was promoted to a similar 
post at Lyon, where he took a keen interest in politics. 
When his office was suppressed under the Revolution he 
moved to Paris. The appointment of Roland was approved 
by everybody J but he was a narrow, pedantic individual, 
who made even virtue seem odious. He had only one 
thing in his favor — his wife, the fair Marie-Jeanne, 
known to her intimates as " Manon." 

The moment has arrived for the appearance upon the 
political scene of a woman, born in a modest state of life, 
who, after having lived in obscurity for thirty-eight years, 
was to become celebrated in a few days, and attract the 
attention of the whole of France. Manon was born at 
Paris on the 1 8 March 1754, the daughter of the engraver 
Philipon. Her father was intelligent, but frivolous j her 
mother was simple, devout and mediocre. As a child 
Manon was very precocious, and began at an early age 
to read the works of the philosophers, particularly Rous- 
seau. She wa^ educated in a convent, and was unfortunate 



enough to lose her mother at the age of twenty-one. In 
February 1780, she married Roland de la Platiere, a man 
twenty years her senior, of an old and very honorable 
bourgeois family. Thin, bald, not at all well-groomed, 
he was anything but an ideal husband. 

Shortly after their marriage, her husband was trans- 
ferred to Lyon, where until the outbreak of the Revolu- 
tion they lived a quiet life, with no remarkable incidents. 
In 1 79 1, Roland was sent to Paris to look after the finan- 
cial interests of Lyon. They arrived at the capital on the 
20 February, and took up their quarters at an inn. Here 
for the first time Madame Roland formed a sort of 
political salon, in which Brissot was prominent. It was 
then that she made the acquaintance of Buzot. From that 
moment her heart was divided between two passions: 
ambition and love. She formed a very strong attachment 
for this attractive man, who was six years younger than 

In September the mission, which had kept Roland seven 
months at Paris, ended, and the couple left for home. 
Shortly after their return to Lyon, news was received of 
the suppression of his office as inspector of manufactures. 
Manon wished at all hazards to live in Paris, to be near 
her dear Buzot. She flattered the ainour-frofre of her 
blind spouse, and persuaded him that the capital was the 
only theatre worthy of the " virtuous Roland." Accord- 
ingly, on the 15 December we find M. and Mme. Roland 
back at Paris and installed on the Rue de la Harpe. At the 
beginning of the year 1792, Roland became interested in 
politics, and on the 24 March, through the influence of 
Brissot, he received the portfolio of the Interior. 

In order to understand the terrible hatred which Manon 
showed towards Marie-Antoinette, it is necessary to go 
back many years. Shortly before the death of her mother, 
when she was only twenty, she made a visit to Versailles 
with her mother, an uncle, and a female friend. All 
four were lodged at the Chateau. Their rooms were just 
under the roof, poorly furnished, and in her opinion 
only fit for servants. It was then that this child of the 



common people conceived a feeling of envy and hatred 
for those placed in a higher position than herself, which 
she was never to overcome. 

The 24 March 1792, Roland with his wife moved to 
the magnificent hotel of the Minister of the Interior, 
which was then situated upon the site where the Theatre- 
Italien was later built. This handsome and luxurious hotel 
had been formerly that of the controller, and had been 
the residence of Calonne and Necker. 

At this time Madame Roland, who was just thirty- 
eight, was still very attractive. Her portrait is thus traced 
by a contempor,ary: " Her eyes and her hair were remark- 
ably beautiful j her complexion was delicate, with a fresh- 
ness and a brilliancy which made her look singularly 
young. At the beginning of the first ministry of her hus- 
band, she had not yet lost her air of youth and simplicity 5 
while her husband resembled a Quaker of whom she 
might have been the daughter." 

More than most men of her generation did this young 
woman influence the destinies of France between 1791 
and 1793. She was " a strange mixture of laxity and en- 
thusiasm, of Spartan virtue and romantic passion, of 
ardent generosity and cold calculation. When such a 
woman sets herself to inspire a group of eager public 
men, fuses them into a party, rules a whole ministry, 
hurls it down when the time comes, works after its fall 
to build it up again, and fills the soul of a Buzot, a Brissot 
and a Petion with her own enthusiasms and hatreds and 
prejudices, the historian is constrained to give her his 

Still charming, although she had nearly reached her 
fortieth year; with a pretty, delicate face, " like a Greuze 
picture "; with short hair; she imagined herself a Greek 
or Roman " hero " — for she considered herself most 
masculine; yet cm fond she was a thorough woman — 
fanciful, passionate, exalte e; absolutely incapable of sound 
judgment; her views always governed by her affections 
or her dislikes. 

She was an ardent Republican, and hated the Queen 




with the animosity of a jealous parvenu who detests the 
aristocracy because he was not born to that estate. She 
treated Marie- Antoinette with a complete lack of respect, 
and used a brutality of language which it is impossible 
to excuse. 





War Declared on Austria — Popular Approval — The Federates — 
Roland Dismissed — Dumouriez Resigns — The Sections Arm 

— Santerre — The Twentieth June — The Mob at the Tuile- 
ries — Bonaparte's Remark — The People Enter the Palace — 

— Attitude of the King and Queen — Petion Arrives — Public 
Indignation — La Fayette at Paris — The Court Refuses His 
Aid — The Month of July — The "Kiss of Lamourette " — 
The " Marseillaise " — The Queen's Last Scheme — Prepara- 
tions for the Revolt — Arrangements to Defend the Tuileries 

— Mandat Killed — The Night at the Chateau — The King 
Leaves for the Manege — The Defence of the Palace — The 
Swiss Ordered to Retire — Their Massacre — The Lion of 
Lucerne — Suspension of the King — The Temple — The Royal 
Family Confined There 

ON the 20 April 1792 the Assembly was in a state 
of feverish excitement. It was known that the 
Council had decided in favor of war. The Minis- 
ters were expected, and possibly the King as well. At 
noon Louis made his appearance. His face was placid, 
and he " moved as in a dream." He read the paper pre- 
pared by the Ministers, declaring in favor of war with 
Austria, in a voice devoid of emotion, " in the same tone 
of voice," records Madame de Stael, " as that in which he 
might have proposed the most unimportant decree in the 

As soon as the King had departed, the debate began. 
The few deputies who tried to speak in opposition to the 
decree were hooted down. The moderate party failed to 
obtain any hearing at all. Amidst frantic transports of 
enthusiasm, war was declared by a practically unanimous 
decision, there being only seven votes in the negative. 



The news was received in every quarter with expres- 
sions of approval. For scarcely concealed ulterior motives 
every one desired war: the Court party, to stifle the Revo- 
lution j the extremists, to give it a new impetus. The 
attitude of Marie- Antoinette at this time cannot be too 
strongly condemned. Ten days later she revealed to the 
Austrian Court the unsuccessful negotiations of Dumou- 
riez with the Great Powers. She hoped that the French 
army would be defeated and the nation forced to cringe 
at the feet of its sovereigns. It would be a miracle indeed 
if her wish was not gratified. What chance, against a 
united Europe, had France, with an almost unguarded 
frontier, an army of raw recruits, led by untried officers, 
a traitorous Court, an inexperienced ministry, and an 
Assembly composed of demagogues? 

On the fourth of June, Servan, the Minister of War, 
came to the Assembly with a most dangerous proposal. A 
second Fete of the Federation was to be held on the 14 
July. Contrary to the views of the Council, Servan made 
a motion that each canton should send to Paris five Fede- 
rates, armed and equipped, and that after the fete on 
the Champ-de-Mars these 20,000 men should be as- 
sembled in a camp near the city. This decree was passed 
on the sixth of June. There was a violent scene in the 
Council between Dumouriez and Servan, who nearly 
came to blows, and a part of the Ministry threatened to 
resign if the King used his veto. 

On the tenth, at the meeting of the ministers, Roland 
drew from his pocket a " Letter to the King," written by 
Manon, and couched in anything but respectful terms. 
Louis quietly took the letter from Roland's hands, folded 
it up, and put it in his pocket. Three days later the minis- 
ter received a letter from the King directing him to give 
up the portfolio of his office. He was quickly followed 
into private life by Servan, and Dumouriez became Minis- 
ter of War. 

The Assembly for a moment was stunned by this ap- 
pearance of firmness. The fallen ministers were greeted 
as " martyrs," and Roland's letter was ordered printed. 



Dumouriez, on his appearance at the Menege, was fiercely 
assailed. He might nevertheless have weathered the 
storm if the Court had sustained him; but the King dis- 
trusted him almost as much as he did Roland. Dumouriez, 
finding himself between two fires, like a prudent general 
decided to withdraw from an untenable position. 
He resigned before he had come to an open break with 
either side. So ended the " Great Ministry," as it was 

The Assembly was goaded to madness by these events. 
There must be a day of reckoning! It should be the 20 
June, the anniversary of Varennes. 

The people of Paris also were indignant over the dis- 
missal of the ministers, and the former leaders of the 
Constitutent Assembly tried in vain to restrain them. Both 
Danton and Robespierre opposed " partial insurrections, 
which only serve to weaken the popular cause." The As- 
sembly adopted a decree conveying its regrets to the 
" patriotic ministers." The situation was analogous to 
that following the dismissal of Necker three years before. 

The royal veto of the decrees on the 15 June again 
aroused the indignation of the Jacobins and of the Sec- 
tions. The following day, the Faubourgs resolved to take 
up arms, and on the 20 June to present petitions to the 
Assembly and the King. This manifestation was formally 
forbidden by all the municipal authorities, but the Assem- 
bly, dominated by the Left, did not act. Petion took 
advantage of this weakness to let the movement follow 
its course. 

Only a few of the Sections were ready for action. There 
was no general enthusiasm and no concerted plan. San- 
terre was followed by only 1500 men from his section. 
A few National Guards were drawn in, against their 
protests, but most of them remained loyal to the Govern- 

On the 20 June only two troops assembled: one before 
the Salpetriere, the other, commanded by Santerre, at 
the Place de la Bastille. The men had a battalion flag; 
they dragged cannon, and a chariot containing a poplar 



which they intended to plant on the Terrace of the 

Santerre, who was the son of a prosperous brewer, 
was bom in 1752. After receiving a college education, 
he bought a large brewery. He made an analysis of the 
popular English beer, discovered its formula, and soon 
made an enormous fortune in his business. His kindness 
and liberality to the people of the Faubourg Saint- 
Antoine, the poorest quarter of the city, where he lived 
near his brewery, made him very popular. After playing 
an important part in the attack on the Bastille, where he 
was severely wounded, in trying to protect the men who 
had surrendered, he was elected commandant of the 
National Guards of his faubourg, and was present with 
his battalion at Versailles on the fifth and sixth of Octo- 
ber. When the King departed for Paris he left the 
Chateau in charge of the Minister of War, the Marquis 
de La Tour du Pin, and the minister was much assisted 
in maintaining order by Santerre, who showed great de- 
termination, and the best good-will. This was the man 
in whose house the events of the 20 June were prepared! 

At noon on that eventful day the small army began its 
march along the quays. Only a few thousand strong at 
the start, it was augmented on the way, and numbered 
twenty thousand when it reached the Manege. There 
were National Guards, some in uniform and some with- 
out, armed with guns and dragging cannon 5 men of the 
people, with women and children, carrying pikes and 
lances, axes and clubs. 

The advance guard demanded to be received by the 
Assembly. While the deputies were hesitating the crowd 
arrived in a body — not by the narrow court of the 
Manege, but by the Rue Saint-Honore and the passage 
of the Feuillants. 

It was now two o'clock. The orator of the populace 
harangued the Assembly. His address was full of men- 
aces, intended to intimidate the members. Then a part 
of the petitioners defiled before the Assembly, brandish- 
ing their arms, and crying " Vivent les Patriotes! A bas 














le veto! " For more than an hour the mob had full pos- 
session of the hall. At three-thirty the session was ad- 

A part of the crowd, massed in the narrow alley lead- 
ing from the Royal Stables to the Manege, found itself 
pressed against the wall which separated this court from 
the Terrasse des Feuillants. Fearing to be crushed, they 
demanded that the iron gate which communicated with 
the Tuileries Gardens should be opened. The permission 
of the King was finally obtained, but in the meantime the 
crowd had demolished the gate, and was crossing the 
Gardens to the quays on the southern side. 

A few minutes later the mob also broke down the 
wicket gate from the Quai du Louvre and invaded the 
Cour du Carrousel. This square, which owed its name 
to the famous fete given by Louis the Fourteenth in 
1662, was very different in 1792 from the large open 
space familiar to the visitor of to-day. Prior to the reign 
of Napoleon the Third there was a very labyrinth of 
narrow streets and alleys, lined by private mansions, 
stables, barracks, and houses of bad reputation. These 
buildings housed not only the domestics of the palace, 
but a very mixed and dangerous population. 

The Place was separated from the Cour Royale, or 
central court of the Tuileries, by a barrier, with a gate 
in the centre, where now stands the beautiful little Arc 
du Carrousel erected by Napoleon to commemorate the 
victories of 1805. 

Romainvilliers, the new commander of the National 
Guard, had at his disposition about 12,000 men, posted 
upon the terraces of the Gardens, the Place Louis- 
Quinze, and around the Carrousel. This was enough 
force to control the mob, but he lacked orders, and was 
wanting in determination. Besides, he did not realize the 

One of the bands of the mob, in going to the Manege, 
had sent its cannon to the Carrousel, to await its return. 
This troop now refused to obey the orders of its com- 
mander, Saint-Prix, and insisted on forcing an entrance 



to the Tuileries. The men trained the cannon on the gate 
to the court, and threatened to fire. At this moment the 
gate was thrown wide open, either forced by the mob, 
or by reason of orders from within, and the crowd rushed 
into the Cour Royale. 

One of the spectators of this scene was a young Corsi- 
can lieutenant of artillery, who was then living miserably 
at Paris, while trying to justify himself with the Minis- 
ter of War under the grave charges of " indiscipline and 
insubordination." We can picture him to ourselves with 
his Csesarean profile, his eagle eyes, his olive complexion, 
his long hair " en oreille de chien," a slight figure in a 
faded uniform, as he witnesses those occurrences, and ex- 
claims to his companion, Bourrienne: " Why do they not 
sweep off four or five hundred of that canaille with 
cannon? The rest would then run away fast enough." 
A little more than three years later, from this same place, 
he was to direct the " whiff of grape-shot which ended 
the French Revolution." 

As soon as the gates were opened the mob rushed into 
the court of the Chateau. The guards there offered no 
resistance: they remained inactive or joined the rioters. 
Some of the mob entered the palace, and mounted the 
grand stairway. Others remained in the court, shouting: 
" Down with Monsieur and Madame Veto! " 

The mob rushed through the apartments as far as the 
door of the room called the CEil-de-Boeuf. Here the 
King was shut in, with his sister, three of his ministers, 
and some grenadiers of the National Guard. He gave 
orders to open the door, which the rioters were about to 
break down. The King stood up on a bench in the em- 
brasure of a window. In a moment the room was filled 
with a howling mob of rioters. A butcher read a petition, 
demanding the sanction of the decrees, to which the King 
calmly and firmly replied : " I will do what the Con- 
stitution and the decrees direct me to do." 

A man extended to him a red cap on the end of a 
long polej the King took it and placed it on his head. 
The crowd then cried, " Vive le Roi! " The heat in the 

[ 191 ] 


room was stifling, and a member of the National Guard 
offered the King a bottle of ordinary red wine to drink. 
He took a drink from the bottle, and cried: " People of 
Paris, I drink to your health and to that of the French 
Nation! " 

Marie- Antoinette had wished to stay by the side of 
the King, but she was taken, almost by force, to the 
Council Chamber, where she was placed at the end of 
the room behind the ministers' table, which served as a 
rampart against the populace. Before the table were lined 
up a few loyal National Guards. The Queen was seated 
with the Dauphin at her right and Madame Royale at 
her left. The Princesse de Lamballe stood behind her 
chair. Here they awaited the arrival of the mob. 

They entered, led by Santerre, who acted as master 
of ceremonies. " Stand aside," he said to the National 
Guards, " and let the people see the Queen." It was a 
terrible procession, of thousands of ragged men and 
women, brandishing pikes and hatchets, crying insults at 
the Queen, and menacing her with their weapons. Marie- 
Antoinette endured these outrages with a calm courage. 

At last Petion, the Mayor of Paris, arrived. This " tall 
fair man, with his insipid good looks and his bland air, 
at heart a knave and a coward," was one of the most de- 
testable figures of his time. It was now six o'clock, and 
the mob had been in control of the heart of Paris for 
twelve hours, but the worthy mayor declared that he had 
" only just been informed." Louis received the scamp 
coldly. Petion addressed the mob, and told them that, 
having presented their petition to the King, they could 
do no more 5 that the King must decide, after reflection, 
upon his course of action. After this he finally asked 
them to withdraw. The mob slowly drifted out, and at 
eight o'clock the Chateau was at last free of their 

That evening Petion celebrated in pompous terms 
this " great warning," given by the people to its mas- 
ters; and in her salon, surrounded by her admirers, the 
Ignoble Manon Roland, commenting on the "just 



lesson" inflicted on the Queen, cried cruelly: "How I 
would have liked to see her long humiliation! How her 
pride must have suffered. " 

The day of the 20 June decided nothing: the people 
of the faubourgs had obtained no satisfaction j but the 
majesty of the King had been profoundly attainted. 
" The throne was still standing," says Roederer, " but the 
people had seated themselves upon it, and taken its 

The Left realized that the outburst had been abso- 
lutely lawless, and strove to remove the unfavorable 
eflFect produced. Condorcet declared that no harm had 
been done beyond " the breaking of a few panes of 
glass." But the feeling of indignation among all decent 
people was very strong, and a deep reaction in favor of 
the Throne set in. " The Revolutionary party," says 
Madelin, " seemed likely to have to pay a heavy price 
for those panes of glass." 

La Fayette left his command and hastened to the 
capital. He expected to be joined by all who had been 
disgusted by the scenes of the 20 June, and to improve 
this opportunity to close the Jacobin Club. On the 28 
June he appeared before the Assembly, and, amidst the 
greatest excitement, vehemently denounced " in the name 
of the indignant Army " the Jacobins, who were the real 
inciters of the mob. He was wildly applauded by the 
Right, and was even acclaimed by the Centre. For a 
moment the Left was reduced to silence. They thought 
that the troops were following La Fayette, and if this 
had been the case, there is little doubt that he would have 
carried the day. A motion to send him back to the army 
was defeated by a vote of 339 to 234. The " poor Jaco- 
bins " seemed to have few friends. In vain they de- 
nounced La Fayette as " the vilest of wretches, a villain 
and an idiot "5 their rage would have been impotent if 
the Court had supported him. But at the Tuileries he 
was regarded as an intriguer. " It would be better to 
perish," said Marie-Antoinette, " than to be saved by 
M. de La Fayette! " 



It would seem as though folly could go no further, 
but worse was to follow. On the 29 June the King was to 
review the National Guard, and La Fayette wished to 
seize this opportunity to appear before his old troops and 
urge them to follow him against the Jacobins. Incredible 
as it may seem, the Court informed Petion, who counter- 
manded the order for the review, and La Fayette left 
Paris in disgust. The Court had destroyed its last chance. 
The reactionary movement was checked in the Assembly: 
the emboldened Left and the enraged Jacobin Club were 
now both determined on revenge. The tenth of August 
was to be their answer to the " seditious " attempt of 
" that villain Mottier." 

The month of July was frightful. The populace never 
left the Tuileries Gardens. They marched up and down 
under the windows of the palace, insulting the sover- 
eigns and chanting ignoble refrains against " Madame 
Veto." Marie-Antoinette was in constant terror of 
her life. In a letter of the first of August she says to 
Fersen : 

"The arrival of about six hundred Marseillais has 
greatly increased our inquietude. Assassins prowl continu- 
ally around the Chateau. The factieux do not take the 
trouble to conceal the project of wiping out the royal 
family. In the last two night-sessions they only differed 
as to the means to employ. If they (the Powers) do not 
arrive, only Providence can save the King and his 
family! " _ 

Yet this despairing letter was written only thirty days 
after the Court had thrown away an opportunity for the 
King to regain his authority through the assistance of 
La Fayette. "There is no doubt," writes Mr. Stephens, 
" that if he had succeeded in restoring the King's power 
he would himself have become a sort of mayor of the 
palace, for he never would have given his services for 
nothing; yet in such an extremity as they were, the King 
and Queen might well have accepted the General's serv- 
ices, and trusted to fortune to relieve them of his 
presence afterwards." 

[ 194 ] 


It is difficult to say on what precise date during the 
fifty days between the 20 June and the 10 August, the 
Jacobins decided upon the attack on the Tuileries. Robes- 
pierre, and the leaders of the Left, drawn together by a 
common fear, were now working in unison for the over- 
throw of the Throne. They were waiting for the arrival 
of the Federates, especially the men from Brest and 
Marseille, who could not be at the Champ-de-Mars 
in time for the fete of the 14 July. In the meantime 
everything possible was done to increase the public 

Early in July, Petion was suspended from office, for 
the events of the 20 June, and this action was confirmed 
by the King. This coward and fool was then very popular, 
and there was an outburst of fury. The deputies, by an 
abuse of their powers, repealed the order. 

In the Assembly, a decree was proposed for the depo- 
sition of the King. During the course of the debate, 
Lamourette, Bishop of Lyon, made a moving appeal for 
harmony in the face of the nation's danger. Suddenly a 
wave of hysteria swept over the Assembly. The deputies 
embraced each other with tears streaming from their 
eyes. The good-hearted Louis hastened to the Manege 
and wept with them, and gave them all his blessing. This 
scene reveals a state of nerves which explains both the 
crimes and the splendid deeds of the period: the Court 
and the Nation alike had lost their heads. On the 10 July 
La Fayette was cleared of all blame by a vote of two to 
one; on the following day the Assembly declared the 
country in danger. At the Champ-de-Mars on the 14 
July, Petion, just reinstated, was the hero of the day. 
The King and Queen were hooted, and their lives were 
in danger. 

During July the Federates kept pouring into the city, 
and by the end of the month over five thousand had 
arrived. They all demanded, not the suspension, but the 
deposition of the King. 

On the 30 July the battalion of Marseille, which had so 
long been expected, entered the city. So far from being 



a collection of vagabonds, as generally represented, more 
recent researches have shown that they were a picked body 
of men, chosen from the National Guard of the city. 
They had left Marseille 513 strong on the second of 
July, and had marched slowly to Paris, singing the im- 
mortal song to which they gave their name. 

The " Marseillaise " had in itself no very radical his- 
tory. Just after the declaration of war in April, at a 
banquet in Strasbourg the mayor had remarked that it 
was a pity that all the national songs treated of loyalty 
to the king rather than the nation. A young captain of 
engineers, Rouget de Lisle, who was present, was struck 
by the idea, and during the night he composed the in- 
spired words and air of the famous war song of the 
French Republic. The air was a taking one: it quickly 
spread over France, and particularly appealed to the 
patriots of Marseille, who gave it the name by which it 
is now universally known. 

Meanwhile the prisoners in the Tuileries were 
supinely waiting for martyrdom. Many plans were pro- 
posed for their escape, but the King, discouraged by the 
failure of the flight to Varennes, would accept none of 

At this critical hour the Queen made one last supreme 
effort, which even to this day remains under a cloud of 
mystery. Through the physician of Madame de Lamballe 
she opened communications with certain chiefs of the 
demagogues, Danton, Robespierre and Santerre, and en- 
deavored by large promises to gain their support. Theo- 
dore de Lameth, in his Memoires, recently published, 
confirms this report, and adds a curious anecdote. At a 
meeting of the Council, held during the first days of 
August, at which the Queen was present, it was proposed 
to the King to have Danton, Santerre and their friends 
publicly arrested at the Jacobin Club. The King agreed, 
and all preparations were made for this daring couf. But 
none of these men appeared at the Club on the day set, 
and the plan failed. At a later date Santerre revealed 
the fact that he had been warned by the Queen not to 



go to the Club that day! It is also well known that 
Danton suddenly left Paris at that time and only re- 
turned on the eve of the tenth of August. 

The overthrow of the monarchy was now definitely de- 
cided upon. Danton, Robespierre, Marat, and in fact all 
of the Jacobins, felt that order could never be reestab- 
lished so long as the King remained on the throne, and 
they systematically prepared their plans for a revolt 
which should end the struggle. 

The Assembly was well aware that a rising was im- 
minent, but the deputies had no intention of being on 
hand at the critical hour. At seven o'clock on the evening 
of the ninth of August the session was adjourned. 

It was a stifling hot night and all Paris was out of 
doors. At eight o'clock the Sections met. The Faubourg 
Saint-Antoine was in a state of feverish excitement. The 
great street was brilliantly illuminated, and the patriots 
were arming. A little before midnight the great bell of 
the Cordeliers began to toll the tocsin. From many church 
towers the sound was taken up and repeated. 

The Sections at their meetings had elected Commis- 
saries who were to replace the Council-General of the 
Commune, composed of Constitutional Royalists. The 
coup d'etat at the Hotel-de-Ville must precede the at- 
tack on the Tuileries. By eleven o'clock the newy elected 
Commissaries were all hurrying to the Hotel-de-Ville: 
before another hour had gone by the new Commune was 
to have wiped out its legal predecessor. 

All these preparations were well known at the Tuiler- 
ies, as no secret of the matter was made in Paris. The 
King had, therefore, summoned his ministers j also 
Mandat, the commander of the National Guard, and 
Petion, the mayor of the city. The latter declared that 
the uprising would fail, and that there was no occasion for 
alarm. He then took his departure and went quietly 

Mandat, nevertheless, made careful arrangements for 
the defence of the Chateau. He relied chiefly upon the 
known fidelity of the Swiss Guard, who had been re- 



called from their barracks at Rueil and Courbevoie in 
anticipation of the revolt. They numbered about 900 
men 5 and there were also some 200 of the King's personal 
friends assembled for his defence, besides the usual bat- 
talion of the National Guard on duty at the palace. Man- 
dat had also concentrated in the Gardens twelve of his 
most trustworthy battalions, some 2000 strong. In addi- 
tion he had sent cannon to defend the Pont-Neuf, 
and ordered five battalions to the Hotel-de-Ville. His 
measures had been well and carefully taken. 

At two o'clock in the morning, Mandat received an 
order to come to the Hotel-de-Ville. The commander 
did not wish to leave his post at the Tuileries, but 
Rcederer finally persuaded him to obey, and he set out, 
without escort. After being questioned by the new Com- 
mune regarding his actions, he was summarily removed 
from his command and Santerre appointed in his place. 
He was then arrested, and an order was issued for his 
transfer, for greater security, to the prison of the Abbaye 
near Saint-Germain. A few hours later, after the popular 
victory, he was massacred on the steps of the Hotel-de- 

At the Tuileries, it was a night of great anxiety. An 
hour after midnight the Queen and Madame filisabeth 
decided to lie down on a sofa in a closet in the entresol, 
the windows of which commanded the courtyard. The 
two princesses could not sleep, and a little later the Queen 
went to the King's apartment. 

About six o'clock in the morning the King appeared 
upon the balcony overlooking the Cour Royale, and was 
cheered by the troops. Accompanied by the Queen, he 
then descended to pass the soldiers in review. As one of 
his attendants afterwards remarked : " During his reign 
there had been no war upon the Continent, and he had 
never seen a field of battle; he had the misfortune to 
be devoid of grace — even awkward; he had the air 
of a dreamer, rather than of a man of action, which does 
not please the French military spirit." 

Instead of wearing a uniform and mounting a horse, 



the King was dressed in a violet coat, the color of royal 
mourning. Without boots or spurs, wearing white silk 
stockings and house-shoes j his hat under his arm; his hair 
uncombed, and badly powdered, he had nothing martial 
or royal in his mien. At this moment, when he needed 
the spirit of a Henri Quatre, " he had the air of a coun- 
try gentleman mingling with his tenants." To inspire 
confidence, the first requisite is to have self-confidence: 
Louis had more of the bearing of a victim than of a 
sovereign. He utterly failed to arouse enthusiasm, and 
the cries of " Vive le Roi ! " were few and feeble. On 
their return, Marie-Antoinette said to Madame Campan 
that all was lost; that the King had shown no energy, 
and that this sort of a review had done more harm than 

With the removal of Mandat the defence of the 
Chateau was disorganized, and the behavi'our of the 
National Guard was causing alarm. Quarrels broke out 
in the ranks, and the gunners loudly declared that they 
would not fire on their brethren. The Tuileries were al- 
ready invested, and the rioters were beating on. the gates 
of the Carrousel and trying to scale the. walls. 

Roederer, after a tour of inspection, advised the King 
to leave the palace and take refuge in the Manege, where 
a number of deputies had already gathered. Marie- 
Antoinette opposed this plan with all her energy: she 
absolutely refused to leave the Chateau. The danger was 
constantly increasing, and Roederer still insisted, saying, 
" If you oppose this measure, you will answer, Madame, 
for the lives of the King and your children." In spite of 
the continued protests of the Queen, who begged Louis 
on her knees not to abandon the defence, the King finally 
gave the order to leave. 

This departure, so much to be deplored, took place 
at eight-thirty. The King walked alone in advance; his 
wife followed, holding the Dauphin by the hand; the 
sad procession was closed by Madame £lisabeth, Madame 
Royale, and many of the ministers. In traversing the 
Terrasse des Feuillants the little Dauphin amused him- 

[ 199] 


self by kicking up the fallen leaves. " They are falling 
very early this year," said the King. He was never again 
to see the young leaves on the trees of the Tuileries 

The few members of the Assembly who were present 
at that early hour awaited the coming of the King in 
a state of great agitation. In the Manege, behind the 
desk of the president, there was a small cabinet, about ten 
feet square, with a grating in front, which was usually 
occupied by the official reporters of the debates. This 
was the place of refuge assigned to the royal family. 

While the gallant Swiss Guards were valiantly de- 
fending the Tuileries, and the reports of the cannon and 
the muskets, and the noise of the combat, echoed through 
the hall, Louis, calm and impassable, regarded the 
orators through his large lorgnette. Since the previous 
evening neither the King nor his family had eaten any- 
thing. A fowl was brought to them, which Louis de- 
voured, while the Queen only wet her lips with ice-water. 

When evening came, they were conducted to the neigh- 
boring monastery of the Feuillants. Here the royal family 
occupied four small cells. For beds, they had only mat- 
tresses thrown on the floor. They had brought no changes 
of clothes, and no linen. 

On the departure of the King, he had ordered the 
Swiss to retire into the interior of the building, leaving 
the defence of the courtyards to the National Guard. 
But the latter made no resistance: the gunners opened 
the gates, and the cannon were soon turned on the palace 
itself. When the rioters reached the steps of the Tuileries, 
the Swiss opened fire, and the terrified assailants fled 
in every direction, leaving a hundred men dead and 
wounded on the stones of the courtyard. The Swiss sortied 
from the Chateau, seized the cannon, took possession of 
the guns in the Place du Carrousel, dragged them into 
the court, and closed the gates. This shows the wisdom 
of Bonaparte's remark on the 20 June. 

The fleeing mob ran into the column arriving from 
the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, and thus reinforced they 

[ 200 ] 


returned again to the assault. The Swiss, who were now 
short of ammunition, were driven back into the palace 

When the news of these events reached the Assembly, 
the King, pressed by the deputies, signed a note ordering 
the Swiss to cease firing and return to their barracks. They 
obeyed, and in a moment were pursued, surrounded, and 
massacred. The Chateau was sacked by the mob, and 
nearly all of the servants and attendants were butchered 
in cold blood. 

During the conflict, which lasted two hours and a half, 
both sides displayed great courage; and the losses were 
quite heavy. Of the nine hundred Swiss, about two-thirds 
were killed in the defence of the Tuileries or massacred 
afterwards; in addition about two hundred of the King's 
friends, and loyal members of the National Guard, were 
slain, in all a total of about 8oo men. On the side of the 
people less than 400 were killed or wounded. 

The Swiss republic has honored the courage of her 
children who died for a king. At the gates of Lucerne, a 
grotto has been hollowed out of the side of a massive 
rock, and here has been carved in hi^h relief a colo^^al 
lion of stone, from the design of the famous Danish 
sculptor Thorwaldsen. The lion, mortally wounded by a 
lance, is represented lying, guarding between his paws 
the royal shield bearing the fleur de lis. Below the lion 
are engraved the names of the officers and soldiers who 
fell on the 10 August; while above is cut in the rock the 
inscription: Helvetiorum fidei ac virtuti . . . (To the 
fidelity and courage of the Swiss). 

The three following days were passed by the roval 
family in the same manner: the afternoon in the little 
reporter's box and the night at the Feuillants. It was in 
the presence of the sovereigns that the law of suspension 
was passed. At this moment, we are told, Louis had the 
manner of a man delivered from a heavy burden; the 
Queen closed her eyes, as though she had received a 
heavy blow on the skull, and then opened them again 
and raised her head with an air of indomitable pride. 

[ 201 ] 



The debate had occupied all of the last day, and the 
royal family had sat by, in an overpowering atmosphere, 
and witnessed the fall of the French Monarchy. That 
night they were taken to the Temple. 

" What remains of the prison of the Temple? " asks 
every stranger interested in historical souvenirs, on the 
occasion of his first visit to Paris, and his disappointment 
is great on being told that nothing, absolutely nothing, 
has survived of this sombre dungeon where so many 
tragedies were enacted. It is almost incomprehensible that 
every vestige has disappeared of a building which held so 
great a place in the history of Paris. In the Rue du 
Temple there is to-day a small square with flower-beds 
and fountains: that is all that remains to mark the site. 

The Temple was originally an immense quadrangle, 
surrounded by battlemented walls, with round towers at 
intervals. Thus it continued for five hundred years. 
Within, there was a kind of small city, with a church, a 
palace, a fortress, and gardens, all dominated by a high 
and massive tower, the " Grand Donjon." The Templars, 
from whom the Quartier du Temple took its name, ruled 
here as masters. Henry the Third of England resided 
here when he came to Paris to visit Saint Louis. Later, 
the vast wealth of the Templars became fatal to them, 
and in 13 13 the Order was abolished by the Pope, and 
their possessions were bestowed upon the Knights of Saint 
John. Under their rule the Temple remained much the 
same. Although some of the old buildings were torn down, 
at the time of the Revolution there still remained the hos- 
pital, the cloister, the palace, the great church, and, 
above all, the great dungeon, a massive square tower, with 
a dry moat, and round tourelles at each angle. 

In 1789, the Grand Priors had long ceased to live in 
the tower, and had built a handsome hotel with an en- 
trance on the street. This building and the little garden 
behind it covered exactly the site of the present Square 
du Temple. 

For over two centuries before the Revolution the posi- 



tion of Grand Prior was the richest appanage of the 
bastards of the royal family, but the last two nobles to 
hold the office were Princes of the Blood — the Prince de 
Conti, and the Due d'Angouleme, the elder son of Comte 

The hotel of the Grand Prior was indeed a palace, and 
well adapted for a royal residence. In plan, it was some- 
what similar to the Hotel Soubise, now the National 
Archives: a long courtyard, surrounded by arcades, termi- 
nating in a semicircle at the entrance end, and closed at 
the other extremity by the principal front of the building. 
The apartments of the Grand Prior were extensive and 
magnificent J they looked on to the courtyard, and, on 
the other side, on to a deep garden planted with tall trees. 
At the bottom of this garden rose the enormous square 
donjon of the Templars, more than fifty metres high, 
flanked with round towers at the corners, and crowned 
with battlements standing out in relief against a slate 
roof — a black, sinister-looking building. 

The hotel of the Temple, uninhabited since the emi- 
gration of Comte d'Artois in 1789, sheltered a few of 
his old servants. In a building adjoining the Tower, and 
forming one body with it, lived M. Berthelemy, the 
Keeper of the Archives of the Order. This building, of 
much later construction than the donjon itself, had been 
assigned to him in 1782, and he had made of it a com- 
fortable and well-furnished residence of four stories. In 
the basement were the kitchen and the clerks' offices 5 
above were the library and dining-room j a pretty salon 
with a balcony overlooking the garden, and billiard-room 
on the first floor; and at the top, bedrooms and other 
accommodations. This building was known as the Little 

On Monday evening the 13 August 1792 the streets 
around the Temple were filled with a noisy crowd j a 
grave event was to take place. At seven o'clock two of the 
enormous royal carriages appeared from the direction of 
the boulevards, and entered the brilliantly lighted court 



of the Temple, of which the only gate was just opposite 
the present Rue des Fontaines. From the first carriage 
alighted the royal family, escorted by Manuel, pro- 
cureur of the Commune, and Petion, the mayor of the 
city. The second vehicle carried the suite of the King. 

A bountiful supper was served in one of the rooms 
of the Prior's palace, where the King supposed they were 
to reside j but such was not the intention of the Commune. 
A proposition that the King should be interned at the 
Luxembourg, and another that he should live at the 
Ministry of Justice in the Place Vendome, had already 
been voted down that day. After supper, the royal family 
and their suite were ordered to follow one of the com- 
missioners, who conducted them to the Little Tower, 
from which the archivist had been summarily evicted. 
This was to be their residence until the Tower could be 
prepared for their reception. In the billiard-room on the 
first floor, two folding beds had been put up : one for the 
Dauphin, and the other for Madame de Tourzel. The 
Queen was placed in the adjoining salon, to which M. 
Berthelemy's bed had been carried, and her daughter 
slept on a camp-bed. Madame de Lamballe was lodged 
in a dark cabinet which separated the two rooms. The 
King was installed on the second floor, composed of a 
bedroom with an alcove which his valet had hastily pre- 
pared for him, and a kitchen where his sister filisabeth 
and Pauline de Tourzel were to find what room they 

Louis went to bed and slept quietly, while the two 
young girls never closed their eyes the entire night, the 
small cabinet which separated the kitchen from the King's 
bedroom having been transformed into a guard-room, 
where the occupants talked and laughed until dawn. 





The Executive Council — The Ministers of the 10 August — Gaspard 
Monge — Danton — The New Convention — Three Rival 
Powers — The Paris Commune — Public Feeling — The Army 

— Flight of La Fayette — The Criminal Tribunal — The Sep- 
tember Massacres — Danton Intervenes — The Responsibility — 
Elections to the Convention — The Members — Their Origin 

— The Parties — Buzot — The Jacobin Leaders — Robespierre, 
Marat and Danton — The Convention Meets — Royalty Abol- 
ished — The Republic Proclaimed 

THE Legislative Assembly, after decreeing, on the 
10 August, the suspension of the King, in- 
stead of his removal which was demanded by the 
Sections and the Commune, left to the National Con- 
vention the task of " pronouncing upon the measures 
which it thought necessary to adopt to assure the sove- 
reignty of the People and the reign of Liberty and 

The throne was now vacant: the Assembly had taken 
possession of the executive power. They now decreed the 
election of an Executive Council, and added a proviso 
that the chief place in this Council should be given to the 
first deputy elected to it. The Assembly forthwith put 
Danton in that place. He was chosen by 222 votes out 
of 285, and became Minister of Justice. Then the As- 
sembly elected Roland, to the Interior 5 Claviere, to the 
Finances; Servan, to the War Office; Monge, to the 
Marine; and Lebrun, to Foreign Affairs. These six 
ministers formed the Executive Council, each one in turn 
serving as President of the Council for a period of one 



Of the six ministers named at this time, two, Claviere 
and Roland, were to kill themselves; and two others, 
Lebrun and Danton, were to be guillotined; while Servan 
was destined to become a general of division under Napo- 
leon, and Monge, a senator of the Empire and Comte de 
Peluse. When Napoleon, at the beginning of his reign, 
complained to Monge that there were still in the Empire 
many partisans of the Republic, he replied, " Sire, we 
had so much trouble in becoming Republicans, Your 
Majesty should be willing to give us at least a few days 
to become Imperialists! " 

Gaspard Monge, who was to die a comte of the Empire, 
was the son of a tinker and peddler, and was born at 
Beaune in 1746. He was educated by the Oratorians of 
the college at Beaune, and, owing to his mathematical 
genius, at the age of sixteen, was appointed professor of 
physics at the Seminary of Lyon. In 1768, he became 
professor of mathematics at the college for the Royal 
Corps of Engineers at Mezieres. During the twelve years 
that he held this post he made a European reputation 
by his development of descriptive geometry. In 1777, 
he married a wealthy widow; three years later he was 
appointed professor of hydraulics at the University of 
Paris, a chair which had been created especially for him, 
and was elected to the Academy of Sciences. In 1790 he 
was appointed a commissioner for drawing up the decimal 
system. Through the influence of Danton and Condorcet 
he was appointed Minister of Marine on the 10 August. 

Danton was the real chief of the Council. He was the 
son of a wealthy procureur in Champagne, and by no 
means the farvenu he has been described as being. He 
was a brilliant scholar and a student of the greatest 
authors. He was violent and passionate, audacious rather 
than persevering, ambitious but not calculating, powerful 
as as orator, although nothing as a rhetorician. He was 
always sincere: everything came from the depths of his 
heart — pity, rage, love, philosophy. He had a great 
brain and a warm heart. He was a Frenchman to the 
very marrow of his bones, and his dream was to see his 

[ 207 ] 


country united in the face of the threatening Germans. 
To him the Republic was a government which should 
mean unity and not division. Take him all in all, Danton, 
after Mirabeau, was perhaps the greatest power of the 

At the same time, the Assembly established universal 
suflFrage. All Frenchmen of the age of twenty-one were 
to have the right to vote^ but this universal suflFrage was 
in two degrees: the primary assemblies were to send their 
delegates to the electoral assemblies, which were to elect 
the deputies to the Convention. The name given to the 
new National Assembly had been borrowed from the 
United States, where it designated the convention which 
framed the Constitution. 

There were now three rival powers in France: the 
Assembly, which united the legislative and executive 
functions j the Executive Council, to which the Assembly 
had confided a kind of dictatorship j and the Commune of 
Paris. This latter body had been formally recognized by 
the Assembly 5 after the August elections, it was con- 
trolled by the Jacobins, that is to say, by Robespierre 
and his friends. In Paris the Commune was sovereign: 
even Vergniaud, in the Assembly, and Danton and Roland, 
in the Council, trembled before it. In vain did the Assem- 
bly strive to break its power. Danton, though he had but 
little love for the Commune, saved it, because he hoped 
to bring about a fusion of the two powers in the face of 
the common enemy. 

The revolution of the lO August did not receive the 
same welcome in every part of France. At Paris, the 
patriots were still crying for vengeance. On the night of 
the tenth to the eleventh of August they massacred or 
imprisoned all the Swiss who could be found. The mob 
overturned the statues of Henri Quatre, on the Pont- 
Neuf, of Louis Treize, in the Place Royale, and of 
Louis Quatorze, upon the present Place Vendome. They 
eflFaced from the monuments the words " King " and 
" Royal," and cut off the crowns and the fleurs de lis. 

The departments, however, were much less excited. 

[ 208 ] 


Outside of the capital, where the revolutionary feeling 
was too energetic for their tastes, the Assembly and the 
Government could count upon the departments of the 
Southeast and upon most of those of the East. The 
Centre, the West and the Southwest were divided and 
often hostile. The region of the North, and above all the 
Ardennes, caused much uneasiness. 

The greatest danger came from the Army. Robespierre 
and his friends in the Commune were afraid that La 
Fayette would march on Paris, and this is exactly what 
he intended to do. He had moved his headquarters to 
Sedan, and there, when he heard of the capture of the 
Tuileries, he held a grand review, at which he adjured 
his soldiers to swear fidelity to the King and to the 
Nation. A few of the old regiments obeyed with en- 
thusiasm, but some of the new regiments refused the oath 
of fidelity to the King. On the 14 August, La Fayette 
arrested three deputies who had been sent on a mission 
to the armies. To all his generals of division, notably to 
Arthur Dillon, who commanded at Pont-sur-Sambre, 
and Dumouriez, who commanded the camp at Maulde, 
he sent his general order, in hope that they would join 
him. Dillon acquiesced, but Dumouriez openly declared 
his adhesion to the new regime. On the 19 August, 
La Fayette heard that his soldiers were threatening to 
bind him hand and foot and send him off to the Assem- 
bly. Realizing that he could no longer count on the 
fidelity of his troops, on the 20 August, accompanied 
by his staff, he galloped across the frontier into the 
Netherlands, and was immediately arrested by the 
Austrians. With three of his officers he was imprisoned 
in the citadel of Antwerp, whence he was finally trans- 
ferred to Olmiitz, where he remained in strict confine- 
ment until Napoleon secured his release in 1797 by the 
Treaty of Campo-Formio. 

Many of the officers of the Northern Army were little 
disposed to serve the Nation without the King. Some were 
suspended, but others, in spite of their hostile sentiments, 
were allowed to remain. At the eastern frontier. Marshal 

[ 209 ] 


Luckner, a friend of La Fayette, refused to take the oath 
to the Nation. The Executive Council replaced him by 
Kellermann, but the latter arranged that the marshal 
should be employed in the second line of defence at 
Chalons. As a rule, however, few of the officers were 
suspended except those who absolutely refused to take the 
oath. If the Government wished to retain their services 
it was necessary to be lenient. Circumstances, and the 
national interests, obliged the Assembly to soften the 
transition from the old monarchical regime to the new 
democratic regime. 

The state of Paris remained disturbed. The overexcited 
patriots were still calling for vengeance. As it was not 
possible to send the suspects to the ordinary criminal 
courts for trial, on account of the attitude of the judges, 
a motion was made in the Assembly to create a new 
Criminal Tribunal. 

The last week in August, when the news was received 
of the surrender of Longwy, and of the march of the 
Prussians on Verdun, the Executive Council was panic- 
stricken. Fearing a siege, and also the domination of the 
Commune, Roland, Claviere and Servan wished to flee 
to Blois, but Danton opposed the idea, and by his energy 
succeeded in keeping the Government at Paris. Reassured 
by the initiative and courage of the chief, the Assembly 
decreed for Paris a new levy of 30,000 men. The young 
men enrolled with enthusiasm: during the first three 
weeks of September, Paris furnished 20,000 volunteers. 

The first day of September, there was a rumor of a 
conspiracy among the aristocrats confined in the prisons. 
The total number of prisoners was 2637, comprising 
priests, aristocrats, and Swiss officers and soldiers, who 
were mingled with criminals, and prisoners for debt and 
other lesser offences. 

On the second of September the news was received of 
the investment of Verdun. The Commune gave orders 
to fire the alarm-cannon, to sound the tocsin, and to close 
the barriers. It a\ as on this occasion that Danton made his 
celebrated speech in the Assembly: " The tocsin that they 



are sounding," said he, " is not a signal of alarm,, it is the 
order to charge upon the enemies of our country. To 
vanquish them we must have de Vaudacey encore de 
Paudacey toujours de Vaudace^ and France is saved." 

These events led to the " September Massacres." The 
feeling in the capital was: " Can we go to war and leave 
three thousand prisoners behind us in Paris, who may 
break out and destroy our wives and children? " The idea 
of course was preposterous 5 but the French people are 
too much inclined to cry out, ^^ Nous sommes trahisl ^* 
They are always suspicious, and the popularity of Marat 
was due largely to the fact that he was the very genius 
of suspicion. 

On the 30 August, the Commune removed all the 
members of the former Committee of Surveillance, and 
appointed a new committee of four members: Panis, 
Sergent, Duplain and Jourdeuil. These four administra- 
tors joined to their number on the second of September 
six other citizens, of whom Marat was the principal. It 
was thus that Marat entered the Committee of Surveil- 
lance of which he became the soul. It was this Committee 
which prepared the massacres. On the last day of August 
they released quite a large number of prisoners detained 
for debts and small offences, with the idea of separating 
them from the principal criminals and the counter-revo- 

The massacres began at mid-day on Sunday, the second 
of September, when some unfortunate priests were being 
conveyed from the prison at the Mairie to the Abbaye. As 
they descended from the carriages at the Abbaye they 
were attacked by a mob and several of them were slnin. 
The murderers, reenf orced by a number of street ruffians, 
then rushed to the other end of Paris, to the convent of 
the Carmelites, where over one hundred priests were 
hunted down and slaughtered one by one. 

The murderers then returned to the Abbaye. At this 
time a man by the name of Maillard appeared on the 
scene .*nd constituted an informal tribunal of which he 
contrived to get himself appointed judge. Maillard had 



shown great courage, and gained much personal popu- 
larity, in the taking of the Bastille, where he was one 
of the chief captains. He had also been a prominent 
member of the mob at Versailles during the October days. 
This tribunal indeed caused the death of nearly two hun- 
dred prisoners, but it saved the lives in that prison alone 
of an even larger number. 

At the Conciergerie, La Force, and the Chatelet, the 
massacres began late that night and continued without 
interruption during the following day. Among the mur- 
dered at La Force was the Princesse de Lamballe, who 
might have saved her life by showing some respect for the 
prejudices of the mob. When her turn came before the 
self-constituted tribunal, she was asked if she would 
swear devotion to Liberty and Equality, and hatred to 
the King and Queen. She replied: " I will take the first 
oath, but not the second. It is not in my heart." She was 
immediately condemned, and executed in the most 
atrocious manner possible. She was the only woman of 
rank who suflFered. Madame de Tourzel, and every other 
lady of noble birth, escaped, and so might have the 
Princesse, if she had consented not to brave her judges. 

It is unnecessary to examine more closely the acts of 
the tribunals of blood, which all resembled one another. 
During the four days from the second to the fifth of 
September, out of 2637 prisoners, about i lOO perished. 

In the meantime, on the night of the second of 
September, Marat, who wished to crush the Girondins and 
terrorize the electors, upon his own responsibility, issued 
an order for the arrest of Roland, Minister of the In- 
terior, Brissot, and several other deputies of the party. 
Then Danton, whom the massacres had not aroused, in- 
tervened and energetically opposed this measure. On the 
third of September he went to the Hotel-de-Ville and 
told Robespierre and Petion that the order for the arrest 
was an act of folly, and succeeded in having it revoked. 

The responsibility for the September Massacres must 
be divided between the Commune, the Committee of 
Surveillance and Marat, who ordered and organized 



them, and Robespierre and Danton who allowed them to 
take place. 

At the beginning of September, during the period of 
the massacres, the elections to the new National Conven- 
tion took place. The electors divided their votes among 
the representatives of the two great patriotic parties who 
were contending for supreme power: the Brissotins and 
the Robespierristes, or in other words the Girondins and 
the future Montagnards. 

At Paris the ticket of Marat was elected. The first 
name on the list was that of Robespierre, with Danton 
second. The Girondins elected the largest total number 
of deputies, but their forces were dispersed. The Mon- 
tagnards, on the other hand, dominated the East and 
Centre, and above all Paris, the heart of the Revolution. 

No marked difference of policy separated the two 
parties: that of the Girondins comprised the oldest Re- 
publicans, such as Brissot and Condorcetj while, among 
the future Montagnards, Robespierre and Danton were 
not at that time partisans of the Republic. The great 
distinction between the parties was that the chiefs of the 
Mountain were Parisians and members of the all-power- 
ful Commune, while the Girondins represented only the 

The number of deputies to the Convention was to have 
been 745, the same as in the Legislative Assembly, but 
the membership was later increased by the tardy arrival 
of deputies from the colonies, and the election of repre- 
sentatives from the new departments, so that the final 
total was 903. Of this number, nearly 300 had sat in the 
preceding Assemblies. At the time of their election 245 
deputies were lawyers and 379 were local officials of one 
kind or another. These two classes formed more than 
two-thirds of the Convention. Nearly all of the new 
deputies were men of experience who had already taken 
part in public affairs. The proportion of very young men 
was not maintained, and the general average of age was 
much higher than it had been in the Legislative Assembly. 



Among the deputies elected from Paris, besides Robes- 
pierre and Danton who have already been named, were 
Camille Desmoulins, Marat, David, the great painter, 
and lastly, as twenty-fourth deputy, under circumstances 
which recalled the election of Sieyes as the last deputy for 
the Third Estate of Paris in 1789, there was chosen the 
Due d'Orleans, who now called himself Philippe-figalite. 

When the Convention met, the two points which struck 
observers in Paris were, first, the number of old faces 
to be recognized, which seemed to include everybody of 
note in France, and, second, that the Girondins seemed 
to have a very large majority. The Girondins and 
Jacobins, who had formed in the Legislative Assembly 
two sections of the Left, separated into Right and Left: 
the former at once took the seats on the right of the 
Convention, while the leading Jacobins collected on the 
upper benches on the extreme left — a lofty position 
which gave them the title of the Mountain party. But 
greater than in any previous Assembly was the mass of 
deputies who sat in the centre, or, as it was called, the 
Marsh or the Plain. It was these " Frogs of the Marsh " 
whom the Girondins hoped to win by their eloquence, and 
the Jacobins to terrify by bloodshed. The leading member 
of this Centre group during the opening days of the Con- 
vention was Barere, who was later to become celebrated 
as the spokesman of the great Committee of Public 
Safety. He had sat in the Constituent Assembly, and 
was now returned by his department as first deputy to the 
Convention. He was a ready speaker, and speedily be- 
came the mouthpiece of the large Centre group. 

With the members of the Marsh there also sat the 
Abbes Gregoire and Sieyes, both of whom had been 
prominent in the National Assembly. The Centre group 
was largely recruited by men who had sat in neither of the 
former Assemblies, such as Cambaceres, the future chan- 
cellor of Napoleon, and Barras, the coming director. 

All the leading Girondins of the Legislative Assembly 
had been returned to the Convention. Guadet and Gen- 
sonne, Vergniaud and Ducos, again represented the de- 



partment of the Gironde. Brissot was also elected, and 
Condorcet sat by his side. With the Girondins also sat 
the ex-Constituent Buzot. 

Buzot was the son of a judge of the Parlement of 
Rouen. When a young man of twenty-eight he had been 
elected to the States-General for fivreux, because he had 
married a cousin of Barentin, the Keeper of the Seals in 
Necker's administration. After the close of the Constitu- 
ent Assembly he had remained in Paris, and had become a 
frequenter of the salon of Madame Roland. He fell 
violently in love with the enthusiastic Manon, and 
deserted his own wife. Madame Roland lavished on 
Buzot all of her affections, and he became the lion of 
her salon. 

On the left of the Assembly sat the Jacobins: "those 
men who were to make Europe tremble by their reckless 
audacity in war and their ruthless cruelty at home; the 
men who were to see France safely through the troubles 
of a European war and establish the Republic on a firm 
footing." The three chief members of this party, whose 
names have occurred frequently in the early history of 
the Revolution, were Robespierre, Marat, and Danton. 

Maximilien Robespierre was born at Arras in 1758. 
He was educated at the College Louis-le-Grand at Paris j 
and then returned to Artois where he began the practice 
of law. In 1789 he was elected to the States-General from 
his native province. In the Assembly he spoke frequently, 
and soon overcame the defects of a shrill voice, small 
stature, pale nervous face, and twitching eyes, partly 
concealed behind green glasses. He was the author of the 
unwise motion to exclude members of the Constituent 
from the Legislative Assembly. Though a demagogue, he 
was not a man of action, and remained quiet during the 
scenes of the 20 June and the 10 August. In the Conven- 
tion he was to become the recognized head of the Mon- 
tagnards. Of the three chief leaders of the Convention, 
none had a more sincere hatred of anarchy or a greater 
love for liberty than Robespierre. He believed in a strong, 
centralized government, with powerful engines for creat- 



ing the " Terror," which he thought was necessary to put 
an end to the anarchy all over France. 

Resembling Robespierre in many respects, but in others 
very unlike him, was Jean-Paul Marat. He was bom near 
Neufchatel, Switzerland, in 1742. His father, a physician 
of ability, who spelt his name Mara, was exiled from his 
native island of Sardinia for abandoning the Roman 
Catholic religion J he took up his residence in Switzerland 
and married a Protestant. Jean-Paul studied medicine at 
Bordeaux, and then settled at Paris. Later he went to 
London, where he built up a large practice, which he 
only abandoned to accept an appointment at the French 
Court. But the Jean-Paul Marat who took his seat on the 
benches of the Convention was a very different man from 
the Doctor Marat, possessed of a good fortune, the Court 
physician and friend of great ladies, who had entered 
the States-General. The former sprucely attired physician 
could hardly be recognized in this man in slovenly dress 
with a frame racked by a terrible disease. By nature 
suspicious and gloomy, with failing health he had become 
even more sombre both in his feelings and in his ex- 
pressions, and to suspicion had now been added a desire 
for revenge. He shared Robespierre's longing for the 
overthrow of anarchy and also believed that it could only 
be accomplished by a strong executive. But he allowed 
his thirst for revenge to overcome his statesmanlike in- 
stincts. He worked with as much ardor as Robespierre for 
the overthrow of the Girondins, but he demanded their 
deaths, not their removal from power. Revenge was now 
the guiding principle of his life. 

But the greatest practical statesman of the Conven- 
tion was Georges-Jacques Danton. He was born in 1759 
at Arcis-sur-Aube in Champagne. He was educated at 
Troyes, and at the age of twenty-one came to Paris, and 
purchased the office of procureur to the Parlement. 
Though fond of pleasure he worked hard and built up 
a good practice. In 1787 he married the daughter of a 
wealthy bourgeois, and with her dowry, and the money 
he had saved and inherited, bought for 78,000 livres the 



office of an " avocat aux conseils du Roi." In the primary 
elections of 1789 Danton played an important part in the 
assembly of the district of the Cordeliers, and at that 
time established the well-known club of the Cordeliers, 
which became the headquarters of the extreme revolu- 
tionists of the south side of the city of Paris, and event- 
ually of the whole of France. The greatest blot on his 
name was his indifference during the September Mas- 
sacres, which his power could have stopped at once. The 
excuse of his apologists is that he regarded these mas- 
sacres as an advantage to France, and believed that they 
cleared a way for a new and more energetic government. 
He shared with Robespierre and Marat their longing to 
establish a strong executive government, and thus ensure 
the success of France in war, and peace and good order at 
home. But he was quite free from the idealism of Robes- 
pierre and the thirst for vengeance which distinguished 

On Thursday the 20 September 1792, about five-thirty 
in the afternoon, the deputies to the National Convention 
then present at Paris came together for the first time at 
the Tuileries. They assembled in the private theatre of 
the palace, which, after the 10 May following, was to 
become the permanent home of the Convention. After 
having verified their powers, the deputies named their 
officers. The president was Petion, and his choice seemed 
to mark a desire for union between Paris and the prov- 
inces. The handsome, naif, and vain Jerome Petion was 
on the 10 August the popular mayor of Paris, but he had 
been elected deputy at Chartres, where he was born, and 
whence he had already been sent to the States-General. 
This first session, which was not public, was adjourned at 
a late hour. At noon on the following day the Legislative 
Assembly was meeting as usual in the Manege, when a 
dozen commissioners sent by the Convention, which was 
again in session at the Tuileries, came to inform the 
Assembly that the Convention was ready to take posses- 
sion of the hall. The president of the Legislative 



Assembly then declared the meeting adjourned, and, 
followed by his colleagues, proceeded to the Tuileries, 
where he presented to the new representatives of the 
nation the homage of his respect and confidence. Then 
the members of the two assemblies left the Tuileries for 
the Manege, to which they marched two by two. The 
Convention which was thus inaugurated was to continue 
in office until Monday the 26 October 1795. 

At the very first meeting in the Manege a deputy 
moved that royalty should be abolished in France, and 
the following day a motion was made that " from the 
22 September 1792 we shall date from the Year One 
of the Republic." The decrees were voted unanimously, 
and the establishment of the French Republic, one and 
indivisible, was thus proclaimed. 





War Declared on Austria — State of the Army — First Defeats — 
Isolation of France — Coronation of the Emperor — Plans of 
the Allies — Brunswick's Proclamation — The French Army — 
The Old Royal Forces — The Maison du Roi — The Proprie- 
tary Regiments — The Troops of the Line — The Future 
Generals — Results of the Emigration — Organization of the 
Republican Army — The Foreign Armies — The Invasion — 
Capture of Verdun — The Argonne — Defence of the Defiles 
— The March to Grandpre — Retreat to Sainte-Menehould — 
Battle of Valmy — Retreat of the Invaders — The French 
Offensive — Battle of Jemmapes — Invasion of Germany — 
Annexation of Savoie — Summary of the Year's Operations 

AS already noted, the retirement of Narbonne as 
Minister of War, on the 9 March 1792, had been 
followed within a week by the resignation of the 
other ministers, with one exception. In the " Great 
Ministry," appointed on the 23 March, Dumouriez was 
given the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, and Roland that 
of the Home Office, or Minister of the Interior. Grave, 
who had succeeded Narbonne in the War Office, kept his 
portfolio until he was replaced by Servan, a close friend 
of the Rolands. 

On the tenth of March, news had been received at 
Paris of the sudden death of the Emperor Leopold, on 
the first of March at Vienna. His son, Francis the Second, 
the new sovereign of Austria and Hungary, immediately 
sent an ambassador to the King of Prussia, to draw closer 
the alliance concluded by Leopold on the seventh of 
February. A sovereign averse to war had been succeeded 
by a bellicose prince. 



It was part of the hereditary policy of the Bourbons, 
in which Dumouriez believed, that the whole of Flanders 
should belong to France. Louis the Fourteenth had an- 
nexed the wealthy province known as French Flanders, 
and Dumouriez thought it would be easy to acquire the 
rest. He had been sent on a secret mission to Belgium in 
1790, and he was sure that at the advance of the French 
armies the people of Belgium would receive them with 
open arms. 

Soon after entering the ministry, Dumouriez sent a 
very arrogant ultimatum to Vienna. Counting on a refusal, 
he immediately dispatched Maret to Belgium to stir up 
discontent among the Belgians, and to tell them that the 
French were coming to their assistance. Vienna, sure of 
the support of Prussia, returned a very stiff reply, which 
was received at Paris on the 18 April. The Ministry de- 
cided to call on the Assembly to declare war on the 
" Tyrant of Vienna," and, on the twentieth, the decree 
was passed. 

In the existing state of the Army, this was a very rash 
procedure. Over two-thirds of the officers of the old army 
had emigrated. Among the rank and file indiscipline was 
notorious. The men looked on their officers as traitors 
and wanted to kill them. At several places on the eastern 
frontier there were regular mutinies. Even with the re- 
enforcement of the new volunteers, the army was very 
weak J there were only one hundred and fifty thousand 
men in all. The commanding officers at that time were 
Rochambeau, La Fayette and Luckner. The latter was 
an elderly German soldier of fortune, a fair officer, but 
quite incapable of leadership. La Fayette, in spite of his 
great American reputation, was far more of a politician 
than a soldier. Rochambeau, though growing old, was 
really a good commander, but he could not get on with 
Dumouriez. The leaders had no confidence in their men, 
the men had none in their leaders. The fortresses were 
in bad repair, nothwithstanding the report of Narbonne; 
and no supplies or ammunition had been collected. 
Nothing was ready for war. 

[ 220 ] 


It was on the basis of his belief that the Belgians were 
prepared to rise, that Dumouriez arranged his plan of 
campaign. He directed Liickner to remain quietly at his 
headquarters at Strasbourg, and await events. La Fayette, 
with lOjCXDO men of the Army of the Centre, was ordered 
to advance on Namur, and was thence to move on 
Brussels or Liege. He was to be supported by the Army 
of the North commanded by Rochambeau: one division 
under General Biron, 10,000 strong, was to advance upon 
Mons, and another under General Theobald Dillon, 
4000 strong, was to make a demonstration against 
Tournai. As there were only 30,000 Austrian soldiers in 
Belgium, Dumouriez counted on an easy success. But he 
had not taken into consideration the utter disorganization 
of the French Army. 

On the last day of April, rumors of defeats reached 
Paris, but the reality was even worse than the reports. 
On the 28 April, Dillon and Biron, according to plan, had 
endeavored to cross the Belgian frontier. When Dillon's 
troops, who were marching from Lille upon Tournai, 
came in sight of the Austrians, they were seized with a 
sudden panic, and fled with cries of " Sauve qui peut! " 
Dillon, who tried to arrest the panic, was cut down by 
his own men. The same day, Biron had advanced on 
Mons, but his troops also beat a retreat at the first sight 
of the enemy. 

Nevertheless, these first reverses were really the salva- 
tion of France. The Austrians, elated at their easy success, 
thought they could take their own time for the invasion 
of France, and the delays gave La Fayette and Liickner 
time to raise the moral of their men. 

At the beginning of the war, Dumouriez had hoped 
to detach Prussia from Austria, but his negotiations had 
failed. Frederick William had always been in favor of 
war, and he was bound to the Emperor by the treaty of 
the seventh of February. Dumouriez next turned to Eng- 
land, where Talleyrand had already been sent upon a 
diplomatic mission, which was a failure. Pitt was deter- 
mined to preserve a strict neutrality, and refused to 

[ 221 ] 


conclude a treaty of alliance with France. Thus failed 
the diplomacy of the Girondins, who had hoped to oppose 
the autocratic Powers with a league of free nations — 
France, England, and the United States of America. 
France was therefore left to fight alone against Austria, 
Prussia, and in fact all of Germany. 

On the 14 July 1792, the city of Frankfort was 
crowded with the princes of Germany, who had assembled 
for the coronation of the last Emperor of the Holy Ro- 
man Empire. With all the old forms which had come 
down from the Middle Ages, Francis was solemnly 
crowned. From Frankfort the young Emperor proceeded 
to join Frederick William, King of Prussia, at Mayence, 
where a series of important conferences were held from 
the 18 to the 20 of July. But they could reach no con- 
clusion, as to the division of the spoils, and it was de- 
cided that the iWar should begin without any definite 

Of more importance were the military plans agreed 
upon. Frederick William insisted that the whole Prussian 
army should be kept together to invade France by the 
route of Longwy. The Prussians were to be supported 
on their left by 20,ooo Austrians and 8,ooo femigres, who 
were to besiege Metz. On the Meuse, the Prussians were 
to be joined by an Austrian corps, under General Cler- 
fayt, and then the two armies together were to march 
on Paris. Just prior to ordering the advance, the Duke 
of Brunswick issued his famous proclamation, the effects 
of which at Paris were to be so terrible. 

This document is too long to quote in full, but the 
most important clause was the Eighth Article, which is 
s^d to have been inspired by Marie- Antoinette herself: 

" The town of Paris and all its inhabitants without 
distinction shall be bound to submit on the spot, and with- 
out any delay, to the King^ to give that Prince full and 
entire liberty, and to insure to him and all the Royal 
Family that inviolability and respect to which the laws of 
nature and of nations entitle sovereigns from their sub- 

[ 222 ] 


jects. Their Imperial and Royal Majesties render person- 
ally responsible for anything that may happen, under 
peril of their heads, and of military execution without 
hope of pardon, all members of the National Assembly, 
the Municipality, the National Guards, the Justices of the 
Peace, and all others whom it may concern. Their afore- 
said Majesties declare, moreover, on their word and 
honor as Emperor and King, that if the Palace of the 
Tuileries be insulted or forced, that if the least violence, 
the least assault, be perpetrated against their Majesties, 
the King, the Queen, and the Royal Family, and if steps 
be not at once taken for their safety, preservation, and 
liberty, they, their Imperial and Royal Majesties, will 
take an exemplary and never-to-be-forgotten vengeance 
by giving up the town of Paris to military execution and 
to total subversion, and the guilty rebels to the death 
they have deserved. Their Imperial and Royal Majesties 
promise, on the contrary, to the inhabitants of Paris to 
use their good offices with his Most Christian Majesty 
to obtain pardon for their faults and errors, and to take 
the most vigorous measures to insure their persons and 
goods if they promptly and exactly obey the above 

The French army which was to oppose this invasion 
was composed of the former Royal army, which formed 
the nucleus 5 of the volunteers j and finally of the veterans 
and the corfs francs. 

Before the Revolution, the old Royal army was 
divided into three broad categories: the household troops, 
the proprietary regiments, and the ordinary regiments 
of the line. 

^ The Maison du Roi, or household troops, was a mag- 
nificent body of men, well paid and splendidly equipped, 
which in former days had done good service in the field. 
Louis the Sixteenth, who had none of the love of dis- 
play which characterized his two immediate predecessors, 
had allowed his reforming ministers, Saint-Germain and 
Brienne, to suppress four of the corps. There remained, 



after these sweeping reforms, only the Gardes du Corps, 
or body-guards of the King, who had to do duty in the 
palace and defend the person of the King. They were 
1300 in number, and every private had to prove sixteen 
quarters of nobility, while the officers were chosen from 
the most famous French families. The privates ranked 
as lieutenants in the army and all the officers as generals. 

Quite distinct from this corps of gentlemen, though 
included among the household troops, were the two regi- 
ments of the Gardes Frangaises and the Gardes Suisses. 
The former had their barracks in Paris, and only sent a 
detachment to mount guard outside the palace walls of 
Versailles. Their chief duty was to maintain order in 
Paris, as there was no regular police at that time. The 
Gardes Suisses had their barracks at Rueil and Cour- 
bevoie, and they too only deserve the title of household 
troops because they sent a detachment to mount guard 
at Versailles. The privates and officers were all of Swiss 

Next to the household troops in trustworthiness and 
efficiency were the twenty-seven proprietary regiments. 
These regiments had their origin during the reign of 
Louis the Fourteenth, when, after the fall of James the 
Second, a number of loyal Stuarts entered the service of 
France. These foreign regiments were generally owned 
by the colonels, who bequeathed them as personal 
property. Some of the proprietary regiments, however, 
belonged to foreign monarchs, who appointed the officers. 
One of the chief regiments belonging to foreign princes, 
was the Royal-Suedois, of which the Comte de Fersen 
was colonel. 

However, the Maison du Roi and the proprietary regi- 
ments formed only a small portion of the French army: 
most of the infantry and cavalry and the whole of the 
artillery were under the direct control of the War Office. 
In 1789, the infantry, on a peace footing, was estimated 
at about 138,000 men. There were twenty-three foreign 
regiments, made up of Germans, Poles, Swedes, Danes 
and so on, and seventy-nine French regiments, which 



formed the real bulk of the infantry of the French army. 
Before the Revolution, most of these regiments bore 
special names which showed their local origin, such as 
the Royal-Auvergne. These French regiments were en- 
tirely kept up by voluntary enlistment. Many of the 
soldiers were recruited from the dregs of the population, 
but among them were many men of a higher grade in 
society, whom the love of military life had drawn into 
the ranks: such were Moncey and Bernadotte, the future 
marshals of France, who were the sons of lawyers, and 
who had run away from their studies to enlist in the 

The artillery and the engineers were made up of a 
much better class of the people. Their pay was higher, 
and advancement depended more upon merit than upon 
family influence. Among the artillery officers and engi- 
neers who afterwards gained great fame, besides Napo- 
leon, may be mentioned Pichegru, who attained distinc- 
tion under the Republic j Victor and Joubert, and the 
great Carnot. 

While the sentiment of the infantry and the artillery 
was generally in favor of the Revolution, the cavalry 
showed exactly the opposite spirit. It is a peculiar fact, 
which it is difficult to explain, that cavalry soldiers at all 
times and in all countries have been attached to monarchy 
rather than to the cause of the people. In 1789 the French 
cavalry consisted of twenty-six regiments, nearly all 
heavy cavalry, and amounted in all to about 26,000 men. 

In addition to the regular French army, which was 
recruited by voluntary enlistment, there was a militia of 
about 50,000 men, which was recruited by conscription 
in the country districts. 

In connection with this examination of the state of the 
French army prior to the Revolution, it is interesting to 
note how many of the future great generals of the Re- 
public and of the Empire had served in the army of the 
Old Regime. Napoleon himself had entered the army in 
1785 as a second-lieutenant in the artillery regiment of 
La Ferej Dumouriez was marechal de camp, a grade 

[."5 ] 



corresponding to that of major-general in our armyj 
Pichegru, the former instructor of Napoleon at Brienne, 
was adjudant-sous-ofScier, the highest rank a non-com- 
missioned officer could reach; and Hoche was a sergeant 
in the Gardes Frangaises. Of all the great Revolutionary 
generals, Moreau alone was not in the army. 

Of the twenty-six marshals of France appointed by 
Napoleon, eighteen had served in the Royal army, eight 
as officers and ten in the ranks. The former officers were 
Kellermann, Berthier, Serurier, Perignon, Macdonald, 
Davout, Marmont and Moncey. The ten marshals of 
Napoleon who rose from the ranks of the ancient army 
included the very greatest of his generals and two kings: 
Augereau, Jourdan, Massena, Oudinot, Victor, Lefebvre, 
Soult, Ney, Bernadotte and Murat. The only important 
generals, always with the exception of Moreau, who did 
not receive their military education in the old Royal 
army, were Laharpe and Kleber, who had held commis- 
sions in the Swiss and Austrian armies respectively; and 
such young men as Suchet, Lannes and Bessieres, who 
were not of age when the Revolution broke out. 

The old Royal army had been almost completely dis- 
organized by indiscipline and revolt. Many of the officers 
had resigned. During the ten weeks following the accept- 
ance of the Constitution by the King, from the middle of 
September to the first of December 1791, over 2000 
officers emigrated. During the ten weeks following the 
declaration of war in April 1792, there was a new exodus: 
398 officers of infantry and 144 of cavalry left. In the 
infantry there was a shortage of nearly three thousand 
officers, or about a third of the effective. The proportion 
of emigres was less among the engineers and the artillery- 

The emigration gave a large number of junior offi- 
cers an unexpected advancement. Among these were many 
sons of the people, such as Ney, Pichegru, Hoche, Le- 
febvre, and Napoleon himself. Among the general offi- 
cers, the emigration also brought about many promotions. 
Several marechaux de camp, deputies to the Constituent, 

[ 226 ] 


such as Biron, Menou, Custine and Montesquiou, became 
generals at the end of this Assembly. There was a second 
promotion in January 1792, which took in Kellermann, 
and Dumouriez, who, after the flight of La Fayette, re- 
ceived the chief command of the Army of the North. The 
generals of the Ancien Regime disappeared: Rochambeau, 
La Fayette, Luckner, brave ofiicers, but habituated to 
old methods, incapable of making war with " Paudace " 
which Danton demanded and which the circumstances 

In the autumn of 1792, the infantry and cavalry 
counted only 82,000 men, in place of the 300,000 which 
had been hoped for as the result of the appeal for volun- 
teers. The officers and soldiers were not well instructed, 
and were much more undisciplined than the Prussian 

On the other hand, the artillery was the best in Europe. 
It was well armed and equipped, and the ofiicers were 
of the first order. The engineers also possessed a first- 
class personnel. The service of supplies was excellent. 
The fortresses on the frontier, Longwy, Sedan, Verdun, 
were well provisioned. 

The army of the line was reenforced by the national 
volunteers. The levy of 1791 had given 169 battalions 
of infantry, but only about one-half of them were armed 
and equipped. 

The heads of the War Office, Narbonne and his suc- 
cessors, had demanded of the Assembly that the volun- 
teers should be incorporated in the troops of the line 
to fill up the ranks, but the Assembly refused. The depu- 
ties feared that the men would become attached to their 
chiefs, whose ambition they dreaded j and they did not 
wish to impose upon the volunteers a discipline which 
they thought might weaken their patriotism. 

The Prussian army which was to invade France was 
composed of 42,000 men. The army retained the organi- 
zation which had been given to it by Frederick the Great. 
It was not a national army like the French, which for the 



most part was recruited from the people, but was com- 
posed largely of foreigners, deserters, and the scum of 
the people. The strength of the Prussian army was in 
the infantry and cavalry, which were excellent in their 
personnel and their equipment. The artillery, the engi- 
neers, and the service of supplies, on the contrary, were 
very inferior to the French. The cannon were mediocre; 
the strong places badly fortified; the personnel, ignorant. 

The Austrian army, of 45,000 men, was made up of 
the corps of Hohenlohe, Clerf ayt, and the Duke of Saxe- 

Finally, there were 4500 French emigres, who fol- 
lowed the Prussians. They formed an undisciplined co- 
hort, of no military value, followed by a numerous train 
of wives, children, mistresses, and domestics; they were 
detested by all the Prussian officers. 

The middle of July, Brunswick crossed the Rhine with 
the main column, and about two weeks later he passed 
the French frontier. On the 20 August he drove the 
French Central Army back on Metz. Although it is 
only no miles from Coblentz to Metz, he took more 
than a month to traverse that distance. 

About the same time, Clerf ayt laid siege to Montmedy, 
and then advanced, as a right wing to the main army, 
through Stenay to the Meuse, and from there to the 

At the end of the month of August, the French army, 
along the northern and eastern frontiers, comprised 
82,000 men, stationed as follows: under the command of 
Biron, in Alsace; of Custine, at Wissembourg; of Liick- 
ner, soon to be replaced by Kellermann, at Metz; and at 
Sedan, under Dumouriez, who commanded in chief; with 
garrisons in the camps at Pont-sur-Sambre, Maubeuge, 
Maulde, Lille and other places, all under the orders of 
Dumouriez. After leaving the necessary troops in these 
camps, the French could dispose of 50,000 men. 

The march of the Prussians had been very difficult, 
and the army was already worn with fatigue when it 



entered France. A fine and cold rain fell continuously, and 
both officers and men had no cloaks. 

The Prussians first besieged Longwy, which was de- 
fended by only 2600 men. The place was bombarded on 
the 22 August and surrendered the following day. This 
easy success encouraged the Prussians: they already 
thought they had only to make a military promenade. 

On the 29 August, the Prussians arrived before Verdun. 
The place was defended by a garrison of 4500 men, the 
majority of whom were volunteers. The city was patriotic, 
but there were many Royalists who were hostile to the 
Revolution. The bombardment began on the 31 August, 
at eleven o'clock in the evening, and continued all night. 
Brunswick then summoned the city to surrender and 
accorded twenty-four hours for a reply. The municipal 
oflicers insisted upon capitulation, which the ofiicers of the 
army opposed. On the morning of the second of Septem- 
ber, the French commander, Beaurepaire, was found dead 
at the Hotel-de-Ville. It is not known whether he was 
assassinated or committed suicide. The city then capitu- 
lated, the garrison being allowed to go out with the honors 
of war. 

The Allies, who occupied the valley of the Meuse, 
Brunswick at Verdun and Clerfayt at Stenay, were now 
posted between Dumouriez and Kellermann, and were 
able at will to turn on either of these weaker armies and 
defeat them in detail and then march on Paris. At this 
critical moment, Dumouriez decided upon a very daring 
manoeuvre, namely, to leave Sedan, where he was no 
longer in safety, and to march on Grandpre, in order to 
put the Argonne between himself and the enemy. 

The Argonne is a densely wooded country, about thir- 
teen leagues long and from one to four leagues wide, 
which stretches from Sedan to Sainte-Menehould, be- 
tween the rivers Aire and Aisne. It is cut up by ravines, 
and, without having any elevations greater than 200 
yards, is very difficult for an armed force to escalade. 
The forest is traversed by five defiles, but they are easy 
to fortify and defend. 



The force of Dumouriez consisted of 1 8,000 infantry, 
about half regiments of the line, and the balance National 
Guards j a cavalry of 5000 men, drawn from the best 
regiments j and an excellent artillery of sixty pieces. It 
was impossible with his slender forces to guard all the 
defiles of the Argonne. 

Dumouriez left Sedan on the first of September and 
took the shortest route for Grandpre, where he arrived 
three days later. On the 13 September he learned that 
the defile of Croix-aux-Bois, which was not strongly de- 
fended, had been taken the previous day by the Austrians 
under Clerfayt. Menaced by this turning movement of 
the enemy to the north, Dumouriez then decided to with- 
draw to Sainte-Menehould upon the route to Chalons, 
and to summon all his lieutenants to join him there by 
forced marches. 

When Dumouriez had assembled his main body at 
Sainte-Menehould, only a few weak detached forces re- 
mained at Valenciennes and Maubeuge, facing the Duke 
of Saxe-Teschen, and another weak group at Metz: the 
remainder were drawn in towards Chalons to reenforce 
the main army. 

After the surrender of Verdun, on the second of 
September, Brunswick advanced slowly towards Sainte- 
Menehould. The distance by the circuitous route taken 
was about fifty miles. He directed his main body on 
Vouziers, to reenforce Clerfayt, with the idea of envelop- 
ing the French left wing, and sent only a part of his 
forces forward from Clermont to make a demonstration 
against Sainte-Menehould. 

As above stated, on the 12 September Clerfayt dis- 
persed the French posts at Croix-aux-Bois, and four days 
later Brunswick emerged from Grandpre, making in a 
southerly direction for Chalons, where he expected to find 
the French army. In the meantime, Dumouriez had been 
reenforced by portions of the Northern Army, and also 
some of the Central Army under Kellermann. 

Under orders from Dumouriez, Kellermann, on his 
arrival, occupied the plateau of Valmy, the spur of the 



mountain chain running out into the Champagne country, 
and so cut the Prussians oflF from the road to Paris. On 
that small plateau, on the 20 September, Kellermann de- 
ployed his little army under a drizzling rain, just oppo- 
site the elevation on which the Prussian batteries were 

The terrain upon which the battle of Valmy was 
fought was known to the Romans as the " Catalaunian 
Fields," from its capital city, the modern town of 
Chalons-sur-Marne. The French to-day call it the 
" Champagne pouilleuse." The plain is a barren waste: 
the soil is of a chalky, clayey nature, and supports little 
or no vegetation. The shallow streams are turbid, and the 
water is not fit to drink. 

An observer, standing on the edge of this inhospitable 
land, and looking directly eastward towards Germany, 
and the roads by which so many invasions have come, 
will perceive, running black and distinct along the 
horizon, a low ridge, apparently not more than three 
hundred feet in height, which bounds the plain. This 
wooded range of hills is the celebrated Argonne. 

This ridge, barring the principal approach to France 
from Germany, traversed by the main highway to Paris, 
and pierced by several other minor routes, was held by 
Dumouriez and his nondescript forces. 

At first thought, it may seem strange that a low ridge 
of this kind could prove a serious obstacle to the advance 
of the enemy, but the explanation is that armies are tied 
to roads: they depend for their very existence and their 
offensive power upon their supply trains of food and 
ammunition. Such a barrier as the Argonne, with its dense 
growth of woods and underbrush, was therefore as great 
an obstacle as an equally broad body of water. To hold 
the passes, therefore, had been the only hope of the 
French. Knowing that his position was turned, Dumouriez 
now stood at bay, with his back to Germany, his face to 

The field of battle was not unlike that of Waterloo — 
a shallow, concave dip, less than a mile wide, separating 

[ 231 ] 


the crest upon which the Allies were drawn up, from the 
similar plateau opposite, which was held by the French. 
The troops of Kellermann, on the left, faced the 
Prussians, while a mile or so to the north, the right, 
commanded by Dumouriez in person, was opposite the 

When the dense fog, which had lasted all the morning, 
lifted, about one o'clock in the afternoon, the Prussians 
with astonishment saw the French army drawn up in a 
very strong position. Brunswick hesitated to order his 
infantry to attack. He directed the artillery to open fire, 
but the French did not seem to be affected by the dis- 
charge of his heavy guns, and he finally ordered the in- 
fantry to charge. The Prussians were received with a hail 
of shots from the French batteries, and fell back in dis- 
order. They were overwhelmed with astonishment. Was 
it possible that these " tailors and cobblers " could aim 
and fire accurately? 

But the charge, though halted for a moment, was not 
repulsed, and the companies soon resumed their advance. 
Fifteen minutes later, when within a few hundred yards 
of the French line, an unexpected thing occurred. The 
progress of the columns became slower and slower, and 
finally stopped short. Then the famous Prussian infantry 
was seen to turn and slowly retire. The assault had failed. 
What had happened? History is silent on the subject, 
and for over a century the failure of the Prussian charge 
has seemed inexplicable. But the riddle appears to have 
been solved by a recent writer, Mr. Belloc, who says 
that the fiasco was due to nothing more mysterious than 
mud! On an autumn day, after a heavy and continuous 
fall of rain, this chalky, clayey soil becomes practically 
impassable, and entirely so to men under fire. The French 
had before them, although they were not aware of the 
fact, an obstacle that the valor of the Prussians could not 
overcome, and which robbed them of the victory. The 
peculiar nature of the ground separating the two lines 
had decided the fate of the battle, and the destiny of 
Europe for a quarter of a century. The mud of the 



Champagne pouilleuse was as fatal to the Prussian 
grenadiers as was twenty-three years later the sunken 
road at Waterloo to the cuirassiers of the Old Guard of 

By this time, the rain was once more coming down in 
torrents j so Brunswick suggested to the King that fight- 
ing should cease, and Frederick William gladly gave 
his consent. It was at least a great moral victory for 
the French, and to it Kellermann owed his appoint- 
ment as Marshal of France, and his title of Due de 

On the 2 1 September, the French expected a new battle, 
but the Prussians, extremely fatigued, much reduced by 
sickness, and surprised at the unexpected resistance of the 
French, were already disposed to retreat. A convention 
was signed between Dumouriez and Brunswick, and the 
Prussians took the route to the Rhine. Dumouriez with 
his army followed slowly and allowed the Prussians to 
recross the frontier without molestation. He was un- 
doubtedly wise to permit the enemy to retreat undis- 
turbed, but of course his action was at once construed 
into treachery by his foes at Paris. On hearing of the 
accusations brought against him, Dumouriez suddenly 
returned to the capital, and appeared at the bar of the 
Convention on the 1 2 October — an appearance very 
similar to the sudden visit of La Fayette in the month 
of June. 

Four days after his arrival at Paris, Dumouriez was 
present at a splendid fete given by Madame Talma at 
her house in the Rue Chantereine, the future home of 
Josephine. During the evening he had a very unpleasant 
encounter with Marat, who sternly remarked that the 
people had their eyes on him and that he himself would 
watch him. This episode threw a gloom over the whole 
evening, and Dumouriez decided to leave Paris for his 
headquarters on the following day. 

At the same time that Brunswick began his advance 
from the Rhine, Saxe-Teschen had crossed the northern 



frontier, and invested the great city of Lille. The town 
was full of republican enthusiasm and made a very strong 

As soon as Dumouriez returned to his headquarters, 
he decided to undertake once more the invasion of Bel- 
gium. The Northern Army had been reenforced to a total 
of 80,000 men. With his main body of 40,000 troops, 
Dumouriez marched rapidly on Lille. 

On hearing of the French advance, Saxe-Teschen raised 
the siege of Lille and fell back across the frontier. 
Towards the end of October, little thinking of being at- 
tacked, he stood with his forces scattered over a broad 
front of 200 miles. He himself, with his main body of 
only 15,000 men and fifty-four guns, was entrenched 
near Mons, on the highroad to Brussels. 

On the fifth of November, Dumouriez took up a posi- 
tion parallel to his line. In an enveloping movement at 
Jemmapes on the following day, Dumouriez drove the 
Duke out of his entrenchments. The French attack was 
led by a division under the command of General fegalite, 
the eldest son of the Due d'Orleans, who was later to be 
known as Louis-Philippe, King of the French. The vic- 
tory was decisive, the Austrian losses amounting to 7000 
men, while the French losses were barely 4000. The 
Austrians retired slowly in the direction of Cologne, 
where they could be supported by the Prussians. Mons 
capitulated the next day without firing a shot, and on 
the 16 November Dumouriez entered Brussels. Antwerp 
capitulated immediately afteitwards. The result of the 
battle of Jammapes was thus the occupation of the whole 
of Belgium. 

In July 1792, General Biron had succeeded Marshal 
Luckner in command of the Army of the Rhine, and he 
appointed General Custine as his second in command. 
Both Biron and Custine were nobles, and officers of the 
Ancten RSzim^, who had served in America j and they 
had both sat in the Constitutent Assembly. Biron was then 
known by his title of Due de Lauzun, and Custine bore 



the title of comte. The famous Hussars of Lauzun, be- 
fore the Revolution, were considered the finest cavalry 
regiment in the service. 

Custine was a man of much ambition and a great deal 
of enterprise. He formed a plan for an invasion of Ger- 
many, and when his ideas became known at Paris, Servan, 
the Minister of War, sent orders to Biron to allow his 
subordinate to make an advance across the Rhine, with a 
force which was to be called the Army of the Vosges. 
Custine's invasion was successful beyond all anticipations. 
The German princes, whose territory he entered, were 
unable to make any resistance. The old episcopal city of 
Spires surrendered on the 23 September and Worms on 
the following day. War indemnities of six hundred and 
twelve hundred thousand francs, respectively, were lev- 
ied on the two places. 

Custine next advanced on Mayence and Frankfort, 
which surrendered without striking a blow. 

Equally successful were the operations of General 
Montesquiou and General Anselme, who were in 
command of two armies of observation in Franche- 
Comte and Provence. Montesquiou crossed the Italian 
frontier into Savoie, which threw off its allegiance to 
Piedmont and was organized into the new department 
of Mont-Blanc, as the eighty-fourth department of 

General Anselme had among his troops a battalion 
of volunteers from the Var, which had elected for its 
chief Andre Massena, the future marshal of France. 
Massena had served for fourteen years in the French 
army and had then retired, on finding that he could get 
no further promotion. In 1792 he again left his native city 
of Nice and enlisted among the volunteers of the Var. 
He told General Anselme that he believed he could lead 
him into Nice without striking a blow. Anselme gave 
him the command of a brigade, with which Massena en- 
tered Nice, after having made a secret arrangement for 
the opening of the gates of the city by his friends within. 
The services of Massena were recognized by his rapid 



promotion, first to the rank of general of brigade, and 
then, in December 1792, to that of general of division. 

To sum up briefly: at the close of the year the Allies 
had lost Mayence and the Austrian Netherlands, and the 
French had occupied Savoie and Nice, which had been in- 
corporated in the French Republic. 





The King in the Temple — His Quarters There — Dismissal of His 
Suite — His Mode of Life — Fate of Madame de Lamballe — 
Louis Separated from His Family — Grief of the Queen — The 
King's Trial — Public Apathy — The Three Questions — Sus- 
pension of the Sentence Rejected — ^ Eve of the Execution — 
Agony of the Queen — The Execution of the King — Historic 
Quarters of Paris — The Guillotine — The Place of Execution 
— Character of Louis the Sixteenth 

THE apartment of the archivist in the small tower of 
the Temple, where the royal family was first in- 
stalled, was far from being a gloomy abode, al- 
though not so elegant as the palace, where the King had 
expected to reside. Most of the rooms were well decorated 
and furnished J on each floor was a wardrobe 3 and adjoin- 
ing the King's room was a bath-room with mirrors and 
seats — a real boudoir. But Louis soon learned that this 
was only a temporary arrangement, until the Great Tower 
could be prepared for his reception. Everything there re- 
mained to be done, the four floors being entirely bare, 
with the exception of one which housed the voluminous 
archives of the Order of Malta. On each story there was a 
large undivided room, with an arched Gothic ceiling 
springing from a massive central pillar j on each side, two 
windows at the end of a large interior embrasure in the 
thick walls; and in three of the corners, small circular 
cabinets lighted by narrow loopholes. The fourth turret 
contained the winding stone staircase leading to the top of 
the tower and forming the principal means of communi- 
cation between the floors. 

So many false statements have been made about the 



imprisonment of the royal family in the Temple that it 
may be well to point out some of the exaggerations of the 
Royalist writers. The family had arrived at the Temple 
destitute of everything, but on the 1 2 August the Legisla- 
tive Assembly had voted that a sum of 500,000 livres be 
granted the King for his household expenses until the 
day on which the National Convention met. Tradesmen 
immediately flocked to the place, and lavish orders were 
placed by the King and Queen for clothing of every kind 
and toilet accessories. The Queen received a gold watch, 
supplied by Breguet at a cost of 960 livres. Thirty dress- 
makers, milliners, sempstresses and embroiderers worked 
incessantly. The accounts rendered, says a writer, evoke 
less the idea of detention which was never to end than 
that of a fashionable lady reduced to spending a season 
in isolation and who means to give up not a single one of 
her habits of luxury. During two months these purchases 
never ceased. In the accounts we find orders for household 
furniture, toys for the Dauphin, and books for Louis 
and his sister. There was nothing democratic about the 
prices of the articles ordered: everything was of the finest 
quality. Silk stockings for the King cost 24 livres, corsets 
for the Queen as high as 148 livres, and a small tortoise- 
shell knife for the Dauphin 1 60 livres. 

At first the prisoners were allowed a great deal of 
liberty. Their meals were served in the central salon of 
the hotel of the Grand Priory and then, if the weather 
was fine, they walked in the garden. 

In the early days of his detention the King had asked 
for " a man and woman to do the rough work," and on 
the 19 August Petion sent the required help. The man 
was Tison, formerly a clerk at the toll-houses, and fifty- 
seven years old 5 the woman was his wife, one year 
younger. The couple were allowed a salary of 9000 livres, 
and they were attached more particularly to the service 
of the ladies of the royal family. Aside from the two 
valets of the King and the Dauphin, there was a kitchen- 
staff of thirteen persons: a chef, four assistants, three 
waiters, and so on. 



On the 19 August an order was issued from the Com- 
mune to send away from the Temple " all the persons 
who were not members of the Capet family." This was 
a new subject of grief. The Princesse de Lamballe and 
Madame de Tourzel were conducted to the prison of La 
Force, and the separation from her friends was very 
painful to the Queen. In saying adieu to them Marie- 
Antoinette particularly enjoined upon Madame de Tour- 
zel to look after the Princesse, whose feebleness, and sim- 
plicity of mind, she well knew. The three lady's maids 
left at the same time, and of the former personal servants 
there remained only Hue, the valet de chambre of the 
King, and Clery, the attendant of the Dauphin. 

The fate of the Princesse gravely preoccupied the 
Queen. Knowing that her friend was entirely destitute, 
she managed to send her some clothing and toilet articles. 
On the third of September, the second day of the Septem- 
ber Massacres, a frightful noise was heard under the walls 
of the Temple: a mob of people was beating at the gate 
and trying to penetrate the enclosure. A group of men 
soon entered the interior court and appeared under the 
windows of the Queen, who was playing a game of back- 
gammon with her husband. The mob cried loudly for 
"Antoinette," and the Queen went to the window. She 
immediately fainted away at the sight of the head of 
Madame de Lamballe, which was carried on the end of a 

The Queen had hardly recovered from this horrible 
shock when she received very bad news. On the 21 Sep- 
tember, the Convention, which had replaced the Legisla- 
tive Assembly, abolished royalty. Eight days later it was 
announced that the King was to be separated from his 
family and confined in the large tower of the Temple. 
The King was even forbidden to take his meals with his 
family, but their grief was so great that the authorities 
decided to allow them to meet as before. The conjugal 
tenderness displayed in this episode was the result of their 
common misfortune. It had needed such an experience 
to bring together two persons who had so long been sepa- 



rated by the difference of their tastes and the contrast of 
their natures. Both the King and Queen had been 
softened by trouble. The brusqueness and rudeness of 
Louis was tempered by melancholy and sadness j his in- 
dolence was ennobled by a serene dignity and his passivity 
appeared like resignation. The Queen, no longer frivo- 
lous and careless, showed herself full of strength and 
forethought, ready to face the tragedy of her fate. For 
the first time she recognized the good qualities of her 
husband. The affection of Louis for the Queen, and his 
indulgence, were soon to appear in that simple and touch- 
ing phrase of his testament: " I beg my wife to pardon 
me for all the misfortune which she has suffered on my 
account and the chagrin which I may have caused her in 
the course of our union. She may be sure that I treasure 
up nothing against her, if she thinks that she has any 
reason for self-reproach." 

On the 29 September Louis left the apartment of M. 
Berthelmy, and took possession of his permanent quarters 
in the big Tower, and on the 25 October the rest of the 
family followed him. The single large room on each of 
the stories had been hastily divided, on the second and 
third floors, into four rooms of almost equal dimensions, 
measuring about four metres square. Ceilings of stretched 
canvas were improvised in' order to hide the height of the 
Gothic arches; and as the Tower had no chimneys, certain 
windows were blocked up to install a heating apparatus. 
On the second floor, reserved for the King, there were 
an anteroom, a dinine--room, a bedroom, in which the 
Dauphin also slept, and a room for Clery. The arrange- 
ment of the rooms on the third floor, assigned to Marie- 
Antoinette, her daughter and Madame filisabeth, was 
almost the same. 

The room of the Queen had a view over the garden 
and was not so dismal as the others: here the King took 
his deieuner with the princesses. The food was brought 
by the three waiters from the distant kitchens, and was 
served by Clery. This was also the schoolroom of the 



Dauphin and Madame Royale. The King taught his son 
the first elements of Latin, a little history, and a little 
mathematics, while the Queen gave her daughter instruc- 
tion in music, sewing and embroidery. 

At two o'clock the family assembled for dinner in the 
small, fireless dining-room on the second floor. This was 
a luxurious meal, served on fine table-linen, with silver 
from the Temple palace. The menu on ordinary days in- 
cluded three soups, four entrees, two roasts, and four 
entremets. For dessert there were "a plate of pastry," 
three compotes, and three plates of fruits. The King alone 
drank wine, and he had a bottle of champagne, and three 
decanters containing Madeira, Malmsey and Bordeaux. 
The others drank only water. Louis had his usual ex- 
traordinary appetite, almost the only Bourbon trait he 
possessed, and the Queen ate little, but slowly, in order 
to give him time to satisfy his hunger. During the meal 
the municipal representatives stood on guard, and always 
with covered heads. The King conversed with them, 
" talking to the lawyers and doctors about Greek and 
Latin authors, and to the workmen about their calling." 
After dinner the family descended to the garden to take 
a little exercise. Here again they were carefully watched 
by the commissioners of the Commune. 

But in spite of their anxious surveillance the commis- 
sioners were duped by their prisoners. Under the very 
eyes of their guardians, the Queen and Madame filisa- 
beth received news from the outside world, exchanged 
communications, and were kept accurately informed re- 
garding political events. Many plans were made for their 
rescue, and several young and chivalrous Royalists suc- 
ceeded both in corresponding and in having secret inter- 
views with Marie-Antoinette. Chief among these were the 
Baron de Batz, and the famous Chevalier de Maison- 
Rouge, who was the hero of Dumas' celebrated romance 
of that name. In some way these facts became known, 
and in the month of November the Commune took stern 
measures: Louis was separated from his wife and children, 
and was not permitted to communicate with them. This 

[ HI ] 


of course was a tyrannical act, but it is the only one which 
is reported on good authority. 

For some time past, the public mind had been gradu- 
ally prepared for the trial of the King. When the 
Chateau was sacked on the lO August, there were found 
documents which proved the secret correspondence of 
the King with the fimigres and with the Great Powers. 
In a report, drawn up by order of the Legislative Assem- 
bly, Louis was accused of intending to betray the State 
and overthrow the Revolution. The fresh documents 
found in the Iron Closet supported this accusation. Here 
were discovered proofs of all the conspiracies and in- 
trigues of the Court: the arrangements with Mirabeau 
and the correspondence of the Queen with Barnave. The 
bust of Mirabeau was broken by the Jacobins, and the 
Convention covered the one which stood in the Manege. 

From the first the Mountain was opposed to a trial of 
any kind: Robespierre demanded a decree for the King's 
execution. The Convention was not, and could not be, 
a Court of Justice. The King relied on the Constitution 
of 1 79 1, which established the irresponsibility of the 
monarch. He lent himself, however, to the judicial 
comedy, thinking it would stop short of murder. 

The discussion began in the Convention on the 13 
November, six days after the report of the committee. 
The violent party had but a very feeble minority in the 
Convention, but on the outside it was strongly supported 
by the Jacobins and the Commune. Against the wishes 
of the Mountain, the majority of the Convention, com- 
posed largely of Girondins, decided that the King should 
be tried. The arraignment, setting forth the charges, was 
drawn up, and the Convention summoned the King to the 

When the King appeared before the Convention, the 
President, in a voice of emotion, said to him: "Louis, 
the French Nation accuses you. You are about to hear 
the charges of the indictment. Louis, be seated." The 
King's demeanor during the examination was simple, but 
full of dignity. Seated in his armchair, he replied freely 



to every question. With respect to his conduct before the 
14 July, he reminded them that his authority was not then 
limited 5 and for his subsequent acts, he claimed that 
under the Constitution his Ministers were responsible. 
With regard to the documents found at the Tuileries, he 
made use of the natural right of every accused person and 
refused to admit the existence of the Iron Closet. 

After Louis had returned to the Temple, the deputies 
considered his request for a defender, and, in spite of the 
opposition of the Mountain, the Convention decided to 
allow him the services of counsel. The venerable Males- 
herbes offered to defend the King. His request was 
granted, and he associated with him Tronchet, and an 
eloquent young advocate by the name of Deseze. 

The address for the defence was made by Deseze, and 
his plea was adroit and touching: before any fair and 
impartial tribunal, it would have secured the acquittal of 
the King. After more than a century we can still hear 
his grave voice, as he extolled the goodness of the King, 
whose love of justice and personal virtue had never failed, 
and whose person he claimed was inviolable under the 
terms of the Constitution. " I say no morej I pause in the 
presence of History. Remember, it will give its verdict on 
yours, and the verdict of History will be the verdict of 
the ages to come." 

The Girondins wished to save the King, but they 
feared the imputation of royalism. They proposed a skill- 
ful way out of the dilemma, by an appeal to the people 
from the sentence of the Convention. 

During the period of the long debates before the Con- 
vention, the Royalists took no action and the general 
public remained unmoved. The statement so generally 
made that the members of the Convention acted under 
duress does not seem to be well founded. The deputies 
never ceased to be free, and they ran no danger whatso- 

Upon the 14 January, after a long and stormy discus- 
sion, it was decreed that the members should vote suc- 
cessively, upon the guilt of the King, the ratification by 



the people, and the penalty. The following day it was 
decided that, on the call of the roll, each of the deputies 
should appear in the tribune and announce his vote, and 
that they should all have the privilege of stating their 
reasons. The first two questions were immediately put 
to vote, and the roll-calls were not finished until ten 
o'clock that night. Upon the first question, that of the 
guilt of the King, the Convention unanimously declared 
" Louis Capet guilty of conspiracy against the general 
safety of the State." On the question of the ratification by 
the people, there were 287 votes in the affirmative and 
424 in the negative. 

The following sessioa was one of the most dramatic of 
the Convention. It was prolonged for more than 36 con- 
secutive hours, from the 16 January, at ten o'clock in the 
morning, until the following night at ten o'clock. The 
first hours, however, were devoted to clearing up current 
matters. A proposition that the decision of the Conven- 
tion should be rendered by a majority of two-thirds or 
three-quarters was voted down. Danton took the ground 
that the usual majority, that of half the voices plus one, ^ 

which was " sufficient to make a law, ought to suffice also J 

to unmake a king." {Suffisante four faire une lot i 

devait suffire aussi pour de faire un rot). The actual voting 
did not begin until towards eight o'clock in the evening 
and continued without interruption for twenty-four hours, 
as nearly all the deputies wished to give the reasons for 
their votes. 

The vote was taken by departments, and in each de- 
partment followed the order of election. The first de- 
partment called was the Haute-Garonne, and the first 
deputy to vote was Mailhe. He voted for death, but 
added: " If death has the majority, I think that it will 
be desirable for the Convention to decide whether it would 
not be proper to put off the moment of execution." This 
was a new move on the part of the Right. Defeated upon 
the appeal to the people, they brought up now the ques- 
tion of suspending the sentence, which might annul all 
the proceedings. 

[ 244 ] 


When the roll-call was finished, the Girondin Vergni- 
aud, the presiding officer, declared in the midst of a pro- 
found silence, and with an accent of grief, that, the 
majority being 361 for 721 voters, and 366 members hav- 
ing voted for death, " the penalty which the Convention 
pronounces against Louis Capet is death." 

On the following morning, the 18 January, when the 
new session began, it was found that the official figures 
already announced were not correct. There was no ques- 
tion of the good faith of the tally-clerks, but the noise 
and the fatigue rendered an exact count almost impossible. 
The session of that day was therefore given up to a second 
roll-call which established the final official figures. With 
721 votes the new majority was 387 against 334, but if 
we deduct the 26 votes in favor of the Mailhe amend- 
ment, there remains the figure of 361, which is exactly 
equal to that of an absolute majority. Louis the Sixteenth 
was therefore condemned to death by a majority of only 
one vote. 

During the course of the trial the King was not allowed 
to see his family. This separation lasted for six weeks, 
during which time the Queen received no papers, and no 
news of the trial. Early on the morning of the 20 January, 
she heard under her window the voices of the newsdealers 
loudly announcing the condemnation of the King, the re- 
fusal of a suspension of sentence, and the execution on the 
following day. It was thus that she learned of her coming 

On the same evening, at about eight-thirty, she was 
informed that, by order of the Convention, she and her 
family were authorized to pay a visit to the condemned. 
The King awaited his family in the dining-room. The 
Queen entered, leading the Dauphin by the hand, and 
followed by the other members of the royal family. The 
room was practically unfurnished, there being only a 
table and several chairs, while the only light was a small 
oil lamp. Through the glass panels of the door, the 
municipal officers, assembled without, watched the scene. 
The King was dressed in brown, with grey breeches, his 



hair lightly powdered and knotted in a club. The Queen 
was attired in white muslin, with a linen fichu, and a 
bonnet of the same material, which allowed several white 
locks to escape. None of the details of this interview 
has come down to us. At the end of an hour and a half, 
the King rose from his chair, in sign of dismissal, and the 
Queen then begged him to permit her and the two chil- 
dren to remain with him during the night. The King re- 
fused, and the Queen then asked him to arrange to see 
his family the following morning before he left for the 
scaffold. This the King promised, but the next morning 
the Queen waited in vain to be summoned. Louis had 
forbidden his attendants to notify his family, and had 
charged Clery to explain to them how much it cost him 
to leave without receiving their last embraces. At the 
same time he handed the servant several souvenirs: his 
marriage ring, a seal, and an envelope containing several 
locks of his hair. 

The Queen passed the morning in a state of indescrib- 
able anguish, listening to the slightest sound. All at once, 
at about noon, she heard the rolling of the cannons return- 
ing to the barracks, the cries of " Vive la Republique! " 
and the shouts of joy: she then understood that all was 
over. Marie- Antoinette asked the municipal officers to 
supply her with mourning garments, and, after a delay of 
two days, her request was granted. 

On Monday morning, the 21 January 1793, the King 
arose early, at six o'clock, and heard Mass, which was 
celebrated by the Abbe Edge worth. He took communion, 
and then had more than an hour to wait. All the armed 
forces of the city were mobilized under the orders of 
Santerre, the commanding general of the National Guard 
of Paris. From the prison to the scaffold, along the boule- 
vards, the troops formed an uninterrupted double 
line. Upon the Place de la Revolution, nearly twenty 
thousand men were massed. One of the Ministers had 
loaned his carriage, which was escorted by about fifteen 
hundred men. The .weather was foggy and rainy. All 



life in the city was suspended, shops closed, and factories 

At ten o'clock the cortege finally arrived at the place 
of execution. After a few minutes of hesitation, Louis 
descended from the carriage. At the foot of the scaffold, 
the executioner removed the King's coat, tied his hands 
behind his back, and cut off his hair. Louis made a slight 
resistance, but soon became calm, when, according to 
legend, the Abbe Edgeworth said : " Fils de Saint Louis, 
montez au ciel ! " On the scaffold, the King rushed to the 
edge and cried : " People ! I die innocent ! I pardon . . ." 
Upon the order of the generals, the drums redoubled 
their rolling. The King stamped his foot, and once more 
endeavored to resist while they were tying him to the 
plank. He was still attempting to speak when the knife 
fell. The executioner showed the head to the people and 
the crowd cried: "Vive la Nation! " The body was re- 
moved to the cemetery of the Madeleine, where it re- 
mained until after the Restoration, when it was trans- 
ferred to Saint-Denis. 

Despite the destruction of so much that was worth sav- 
ing of the Paris of the Revolution, there yet remain many 
spots that are fairly well preserved. One of these is the 
Cour du Commerce near the old tower and wall of 
Philippe-Auguste on the south side of the city. Outside 
that wall, close to the Porte de Buci, there had been a 
tennis-court, which was extended in 1776 into a narrow 
passage with small houses on either side. The old en- 
trance of the tennis-court became the northern entrance 
to the new passage, and the southern entrance was at the 
end of the Rue des Cordeliers, now Rue de P£cole-de- 
Medecine. Just one hundred years later, in 1876, the 
southern end of this Cour du Commerce was cut away by 
the modern Boulevard Saint-Germain, on the northern 
side of which a new entrance to the court was made. At 
the same time the houses on the north side of the Rue 
de Pficole-de-Medecine were torn down and replaced by 
the small triangular space where the statute of Danton 

[ 247 ] 


now stands among the trees. One of these demolished 
houses was the home of Danton, and his statue marks 
exactly the doorway to his dwelling-place. His apart- 
ment, on the first floor, had two salons and a bedroom 
looking out on the Rue des Cordeliers, while the dining- 
room had windows on the Cour du Commerce. Here he 
lived in 1792 with his wife and son. In the entresol below, 
with his wife, dwelt Camille Desmoulins, his secretary. 
Two days after the terrible 10 August, Danton moved 
for a short time to the grand hotel on the Place Vendome, 
the official residence of the Minister of Justice, but re- 
turned to his apartment in the autumn after his election 
to the Convention. 

A little to the east of Danton's house was the apart- 
ment of Marat, where he lived with his mistress and his 
two sisters. It was at this house that he was assassinated by 
Charlotte Corday. The printing-office of his " L'Ami du 
Peuple " was at the noisy corner of the Cour du Com- 

In a small building on the north corner of the entrance 
of the Cour du Commerce from Rue de I'Ancienne- 
Comedie the first guillotine was set up, for experiments 
on sheep, by Doctor Antoine Louis, Secretary of the 
Academy of Surgeons and head of the committee ap- 
pointed by the National Assembly the 6 October 1791. 
A clause in the new penal code adopted that day made 
death by decapitation the only mode of execution, and 
the committee was authorized to perfect the apparatus. 
It was not entirely a new invention, for the mediaeval 
executioners of Germany and Scotland had used "the 
Maiden," a similar machine. In the Assembly, Doctor 
Joseph Guillotin had tried two years before to impress 
on the deputies the need of a method of capital punish- 
ment more humane than the sword or the rope, but he 
was laughed to scorn. 

On the 25 April 1792, the machine perfected by Doctor 
Louis, and known as " la Louisette," was tried on a crimi- 
nal in the Place de Greve. Three days later " the Maiden " 
received her official title, "la Guillotine," How many 



heads, from the crowned king of the Capet line to the 
Arras lawyer, from Bailly, the pedantic mayor of Paris, 
to brilliant young Barnave, were destined to fall beneath 
the grim machine with which the name of the philan- 
thropic Doctor Guillotin is forever associated! " Unfor- 
tunate Doctor! " says Carlyle, " his name like to outlive 
Caesar's! " 

The guillotine was soon transferred from the Place 
de Greve to the Carrousel, and thence, in May 1793, 
when the Convention moved to the Tuileries, to the 
Place de la Revolution. This large square, just beyond 
the Tuileries Gardens, prior to the Revolution had in its 
centre, on the present site of the Obelisk of Luxor, an 
equestrian statue of the late " well-beloved " King, for 
whom the Place had been named j and between that point 
and the " pont-tournant " of the Gardens the scaffold 
was set up. Lamartine, with epic license which scorns 
historic proof, for the effect he gets of the flowing of 
water and of blood, puts it on the site of the southern 
fountain. Hare, in his " Walks in Paris," also states, 
erroneously, that the fountain on the south side marks the 
exact spot where Louis the Sixteenth died. For the exe- 
cution of the King, on the 21 January 1793, the guillo- 
tine was erected for the first time on the Place de la Revo- 
lution, and according to a contemporary sketch in the 
Musee Carnavalet at Paris, for this occasion only, it was 
placed on the north side of the square between the re- 
mains of the statue and the entrance to the Rue Royale, 
that it might be well protected by the troops. Neverthe- 
less, such excellent authorities as Georges Cain, in his 
" Promenades dans Paris," and the Martins, in their 
" Stones of Paris," give the site as just to the west of 
the centre, towprds the entrance of the Champs-felysees. 
As Pope says, " Who shall decide when doctors disagree? " 
There is no doubt, however, that when the guillotine was 
permanently removed to the Place de la Revolution, in 
May 1793, it was set up on the east side between the statue 
of Liberty, upon the site of the former statue of Louis 



the Fifteenth, and the pont-tournant at the entrance of 
the Tuileries Gardens. 

In a proclamation to the fimigres, under date of the 
28 January, the Comte de Provence declared the Dauphin 
King of France and Navarre under the name of Louis the 
Seventeenth, he himself becoming Regent, and his 
younger brother, the Comte d'Artois, Lieutenant-General 
of the kingdom. With the support of the allied sovereigns 
he hoped to liberate the prisoners in the Temple, and 
reestablish the Monarchy upon its former basis. He 
wished also to inflict an exemplary punishment upon the 
criminals and avenge the blood of Louis the Sixteenth. 
Vain menaces, and so maladroit that the " Moniteur " 
took pains to publish the document in full a month later. 

" No death throughout the Revolution," says Mr. 
Stephens, " is so pathetic as that of Louis. He had 
earnestly longed from the moment he came to the throne 
to benefit his people. He had willingly consented to be 
deprived of many of the powers which he had inherited 
from his ancestors, but every concession which he had 
made lost its effect in the eyes of the people by the in- 
eptitude of his confidential advisers and ministers. . . . 
If the political weakness of his ministers prevented him 
from ever getting credit for his sincere devotion to the 
cause of reform, still more did the conduct of the Queen 
prevent his being recognized as a really patriotic king. 
On many an occasion, when he was willing and desirous 
to act in harmony with the popular leaders, she prevented 
hini. . . . Personally upright, and desirous of being 
politically honest, loathing bloodshed and fearing civil 
war, Louis the Sixteenth had every quality to make him a 
good constitutional king. . . . Louis was no martyr, he 
was no hero, he was no saint: he was a good man, with 
the best intentions, whose character was not equal to the 
stirring times in which he lived 5 he lost his life because 
he was born to a throne at an unpropitious period, and not 
for any personal offences of his own." 



Louis the Fifteenth, with his cynical disregard for 
posterity, had exclaimed, " Apres nous, le deluge! " Says 
Mignet: "His (Louis') ancestors bequeathed to him a 
revolution. He was better calculated than any of them 
to prevent and terminate itj for he was capable of becom- 
ing a reformer-king before it broke out, or of becoming 
a constitutional king afterwards. He is perhaps the only 
prince, who, having no other passion, had not that of 
power, and who united the two qualities which make good 
kings, fear of God and love of the people. He perished, 
the victim of passions which he did not share: of those 
of the persons about him, to which he was a stranger, and 
to those of the multitude which he had not excited. Few 
memories of kings are so commendable. History will say 
of him, that, with a little more strength of mind, he would 
have been an exemplary king." 





Results of the Death of the King — Rupture between France and 
England — War with Spain — French Reverses — The Revolu- 
tionary Tribunal — Committee of General Defence — Trea- 
son of Dumouriez — Committee of Public Safety — Its Mem- 
l^ers — Influence of the Foreign War — Arrest of Marat — His 
Trial and Acquittal — The Convention at the Tuilerles — In- 
surrection of the Commune — Murder of Marat — The Allies 
Cross the Northern Frontier — The Siege of Mayence — Re- 
bellion in the Vendee — Insurrections at Lyon, Marseille, Bor- 
deaux and Caen — The Constitution of 1793 — Fate of the 
Fugitive Deputies — Character of the Girondins 

THE immediate consequence of the death of the 
King was a formidable increase in the number of 
the enemies of France. The nation was already at 
war with Austria and Prussia; the execution served as a 
pretext for England to begin hostilities, and was the cause 
of the war with Spain. All of the Courts, both large and 
small, were struck with consternation at the news of the 
fate of Louis the Sixteenth. The sovereigns viewed with 
horror a republic which caused a royal head to fall under 
the axe. Holland, Italy, and the states of Germany at 
once entered the war. Catherine the Second of Russia put 
on mourning, but took good care not to intervene directly 
against the Republic. All these States used the " murder 
of the King" as an excuse, although they had motives 
much more practical than this sentimental one. They 
thought that it was an excellent opportunity to gain terri- 
tory from a nation which was plainly in process of 

The rupture between France and England was a most 




important event. The Prime Minister of Great Britain at 
that time was William Pitt, who, at the age of thirty- 
three, had already been in power for nine years. He had 
come into office at the moment when England had been 
forced to recognize the independence of the United States 
and thus to submit to the most painful humiliation in her 
history. Pitt had given his country both force and prestige. 
His first task had been to put the national finances in 
good condition, and he had therefore pursued a peaceful 
policy. It has been well said that, if Pitt had died in 1792, 
his name would have been synonymous with peace, pru- 
dence and economy, although, by a singuluar contradic- 
tion, during the remaining years of his life he forced 
England into a war which was the most expensive, the 
longest, and the most terrible the country had ever known. 

Pitt changed his policy at the end of November 1792, 
at the exact moment that the first Republican victories 
placed in peril the system of European politics which 
seemed to him of the utmost importance to the interests of 
his country. The victories of Dumouriez, at Valmy and 
Jemmapes, in the opinion of Pitt compromised the balance 
of power which he thought he had secured. First of all, 
Belgium was conquered. The kings of France had en- 
deavored many times to annex that country, but in spite 
of all their power they had never succeeded : England, in 
alliance with Holland, had prevented them. Now one of 
the pillars of ancient Europe had given way. Conquered 
by the Republicans, Belgium was liberated from her 
former servitude. Antwerp, which Napoleon later said 
was " a pistol pointed at the head of England," was in the 
hands of the French. 

But this was not all: in the second place, Holland was 
threatened. The Dutch patriots had urged the French 
republicans to enter their country, and the decree of the 
19 November 1792 seemed to render an early invasion 
very probable. 

Finally, Pitt suspected the rai)prochement of Prussia 
and Russia, caused by the check of Prussia in France ^ and 
he foresaw the second partition of Poland. 

[ 253 ] 


As soon as he had arrived at a decision, and his policy 
had been definitely accepted by the English Cabinet, Pitt 
began systematically to take all possible means to force 
the French to declare war. In spite of all the English 
provocations, however, the attitude of the French Gov- 
ernment for a long time remained very pacific. But on the 
first day of February France finally declared war. 

In Spain, Godoy, the lover of Queen Marie-Louise, 
had replaced, in November 1792, the aged Aranda, who 
was a partisan of the French, and had kept his country 
neutral. The King, Charles the Fourth, as a Bourbon, 
as a monarch, and as a Spaniard j upon the point of family 
sentiment, of royal solidarity, and of honor, had wished 
to save Louis the Sixteenth and give him and his family 
a refuge. It must be admitted that of all the sovereigns 
of Europe, he was the only one who tried personally to 
act in favor of the King of France. The emotion caused 
in Spain by the news of the execution of Louis led to 
many popular and clerical movements} the King swore to 
avenge his cousin, and the Queen shed floods of tears. 
Godoy talked like a hero, and the Spanish armaments con- 
tinued. The French Government, having failed to obtain 
any response to its demands for explanations, on the 23 
February ordered its ambassador to leave Madrid, and 
finally, on the seventh of March, the Convention declared 
war against Spain. 

Danton seized the moment to try to put an end to the 
perpetual party quarrels in the Convention. He had op- 
posed the outbreak of the war, but now that it was begun, 
the war was his main interest. He advocated a reorganiza- 
tion of the Committee of General Security, and the re- 
moval of Roland from the Ministry. 
^ On the 24 January, three days after the King's execu- 
tion, Pache resigned as Minister of War, and three weeks 
later he v/as elected mayor of Paris. His resignation was 
partly caused by the arrival of Dumouriez at Paris, 
where he had come to obtain permission to invade Hol- 
land. The Convention gave its consent, and in view of 
the new war passed two decrees, one for the issue of new 



assignats to the amount of eight hundred million livres, 
and the other for a new levy of three hundred thousand 
men. This latter decree was the immediate cause of the 
outbreak of war in La Vendee. 

Early in March, Dumouriez invaded Holland with his 
main army, but was soon obliged to fall back by the news 
that the Prince of Cobourg had driven his lieutenant 
Valence from Aix-la-Chapelle. Dumouriez concentrated 
his forces at Antwerp, but he found that his soldiers had 
lost their former confidence. Bad news was also received 
from the army of Custine, who had been driven from 
Frankfort and forced to retire behind the lines of Wis- 
sembourg. The Prussians had crossed the Rhine and be- 
sieged Mayence. 

One of the direct results of these reverses was the 
formation at Paris of the Revolutionary Tribunal, which 
was afterwards to be the chief engine of the Terror. 
Fouquier-Tinville, a bankrupt procureur, was appointed 
director of the jury, or public accuser, of the new 

On the 21 March, the terrible news was received at 
Paris of the defeat of Dumouriez at Neerwinden, with a 
loss of four thousand men. 

This event led to the reorganization of the Committee 
of General Defence, which was placed on another foot- 
ing. This committee, which came into existence in January 
1793, was originally composed of twenty-one members, 
who were chosen from the seven most important com- 
mittees of the Convention. The committee, as reorganized, 
consisted of twenty-four members. It contained nine 
Girondins, nine deputies of the Plain, and six Jacobins, in- 
cluding every representative man in the Convention. 
Among the principal members were Petion, Buzot, and 
Condorcet, from the Girondins; Sieyes, Cambaceres, and 
Barere on the part of the Plain; and Danton, Robespierre 
and Camille Desmoulins from the Mountain. 

After his defeat at Neerwinden, Dumouriez retreated 
from Belgium and established his headquarters at Saint- 
Amand. Here he received four members of the Conven- 



tion who had been sent with the Minister of War, Beur- 
nonville, to summon him to the bar of the Convention. 
Dumouriez promptly tore up the summons, and was 
immediately suspended by the commissioners. He retali- 
ated by arresting the five men and sending them oflF to 
General Clerfayt, whose headquarters were at Tournai. 
They were closely imprisoned by the Austrians until ex- 
changed two years later for Madame Royale. 

Dumouriez, since his defeat, had been in communica- 
tion with the Austrians, and had promised to hand over 
to them the three fortresses of Lille, Valenciennes, and 
Conde. He now set out for Conde, but was stopped by a 
young officer of the old Royal army. Colonel Davout, 
who was later to become a marshal of the Empire. Davout 
fired upon Dumouriez and his staff and drove them across 
the frontier. 

Marat, who was statesman enough to see the need of 
strengthening the executive, now proposed that enlarged 
powers should be given to the committees. The Commit- 
tee of General Defence had proved useless: it held few 
meetings and made almost no decisions. Having been re- 
organized on the 28 March, it was now again transformed 
on the demand of Marat, Robespierre, and Barere. It 
was to be composed of nine members only and was to be 
known as the Committee of Public Safety. The three 
great institutions upon which France was to depend to 
win the war were now in existence: the Committee of 
Public Safety, the Committee of General Security, and 
the Revolutionary Tribunal. 

The disasters on the frontiers, and the insurrections in 
the provinces, during the summer of 1793, had thus 
brought about, what Mirabeau and Danton had so 
earnestly advocated, the establishment of a strong execu- 
tive. Under the pressure of foreign and civil war, the 
Convention had appointed the great Committee of Public 
Safety, which really governed France during the period 
between September 1793 and July 1794. As finally re- 
organized, on the 17 September 1793, the Committee 
consisted of twelve men: Robespierre, Couthon, Saint- 



Just, Carnot, Prieur of the Cote-d'Or, Saint-Andre, 
Prieur of the Marne, Robert Lindet, Billaud-Varenne, 
Collot d'Herbois, Herault de Sechelles, and Barere. 

The members were all men of education, and all of 
them in the prime of life, the eldest, Lindet, being fifty, 
and the youngest, Saint- Just, just twenty-five j their 
average age was only thirty-seven. Of the twelve, three 
came from the new noblesse, and the others of good bour- 
geois families. No less than seven of them were avocats; 
two, Carnot and Prieur of the Cote-d'Or, were engineer 
officers j Saint- Andre was a Protestant pastor; Collot 
d'Herbois was a well-known actor, and Saint-Just was a 
law student. 

Maximilien Robespierre, who was the great central 
figure of the Committee, has already been described. In 
the Committee he had only two faithful adherents among 
the twelve — one a cripple, Couthon, and the other, little 
more than a boy, Saint-Just. 

Georges- Auguste Couthon was born in Auvergne on the 
22 December 1755. He was educated for the bar, and in 
1783 became an avocat at Clermont-Ferrand, where he 
soon built up a large practice. In 1788, he was stricken 
with paralysis, and entirely lost the use of his legs. He 
was elected a deputy to the Legislative Assembly, where 
he played an important part. His affliction, and the conse- 
quent necessity of speaking from his seat or being carried 
to the tribune, gave him an individuality, and his words 
were always listened to with respectful sympathy. He was 
reelected to the Convention, and at once allied himself 
there with Robespierre, to whom he was attached by sym- 
pathy of tastes, education and manners. 

Louis-Antoine de Saint-Just, the younger of Robes- 
pierre's two supporters, was of better birth than his 
friend, being the only son of a retired captain of cavalry 
and a Chevalier de Saint-Louis. He was born in the 
Nivernais on the 25 August 1767, and was educated by the 
Oratorians at Soissons. He studied law, but soon began to 
write, being a confirmed disciple of Rousseau. In 1792 
he was elected to the Convention, where he attacked the 



Monarchy, and spoke eloquently in favor of the immedi- 
ate execution of the King. His slight figure, straight black 
hair, large blue eyes, and bold features j his cold, reserved 
manner, and simple habits and dress, made him, together 
with his youth, a striking figure. With Robespierre and 
Couthon, he formed the famous "triumvirate" within 
the Committee of Public Safety 5 but unlike his two asso- 
ciates he was essentially a man of action — courageous, 
pitiless, uncompromising. 

Of the nine remaining members of the Committee, 
seven were essentially administrators, and really had more 
to do with the government of France, although, in the 
eyes of posterity, their names are quite overshadowed by 
those of the triumvirate. Their work was divided sub- 
stantially as follows: Carnot and Prieur of the Cote-d'Or 
superintended the conduct of the wars on the frontiers; 
Saint-Andre looked after the navy; Prieur of the Marne 
and Lindet supervised the service of supplies; Billaud- 
Varenne and Collot d'Herbois had charge of the Revolu- 
tionary government in the interior. 

Lazare Carnot, who is the best known of these seven 
men, was born in the Bourgogne on the 15 March 1753, 
and was therefore forty years of age when he entered the 
great Committee. His father was a country avocat, who 
gave his son a good education at the college of Autun, 
and then at ^ military tutor's in Paris. Through his pro- 
ficiency in mathematics he gained admission in 1771 to 
the collee:e of Royal Engineers at Mezieres, whence he 
graduated two years later with a commission as first- 
lieutenant. His entire military career was spent in garri- 
son on the northern frontier. In 1784 he was promoted 
captain, and in 1791 he married the daughter of M. Du- 
pont, a wealthy resident of Saint-Omer where he was in 
garrison. In September of that year, through the influence 
of his father-in-law, he was elected to the Legislative 
Assembly. In that assembly he served on the Military 
Committee, and was reporter on the murder of Theobald 
Dillon. He was elected to the Convention, and in August 
1793 was one of the two oflScers recommended by the 



Committee of Public Safety to be added to their number 
to take the direction of the foreign war. 

The other officer of Royal Engineers who was added 
to the Committee at the same time, and who became 
Carnot's principal assistant, was Claude-Antoine Prieur- 
Duvernois, commonly known as Prieur of the Cote-d'Or. 
He was the only son of a receiver-general of taxes at 
Auxonne, where he was born on the 22 December 1763. 
He was therefore not quite thirty, and Carnot's junior by 
ten years, when he became a member of the Committee. 
Like Carnot, he was educated at Mezieres, and entered 
the Royal Engineers in 1784. He was elected to the 
Legislative Assembly by the department of the Cote-d'Or 
in 1 79 1, and was subsequently chosen to the Convention 
by the same department. 

The same power which Carnot and Prieur exercised 
with respect to the wars on the frontiers was wielded with 
regard to the navy by Jean-Bon Saint-Andre. He came 
of a wealthy Protestant family of Montauban, where he 
was born in 1749. He was educated by the Jesuits, and 
not in the religion of his family. Having a strong love for 
the sea, he entered the merchant service, and became a 
captain. He nearly lost his life in a shipwreck in the 
West Indies, and the shock made him turn to thoughts of 
religion. He abandoned the sea; became an ardent 
Protestant J went to Lausanne and studied theology; and 
became a Protestant pastor. He failed of election to the 
Legislative Assembly, but was chosen to the Convention. 
At first he took his seat among the Girondins, but later 
became disgusted with the vacillations of that party, and 
joined the Mountain. 

Of Pierre-Louis Prieur, commonly called Prieur of the 
Marne, there is little known except that he was born at 
Sommesous on the first of April 1756, and was practicing 
as an avocat at Chalons-sur-Marne in 1789, when he was 
elected to the States-General. At the close of the Constitu- 
ent Assembly he was elected vice-president of the criminal 
tribunal of the Seine, and in September 1792 was chosen 
by the department of the Marne to the Convention. He 



was a member of the Committee of General Defence, and 
eventually in July 1793 was elected a member of the 
great Committee. 

Jean-Baptiste-Robert Lindet, who was the special col- 
league of Prieur of the Marne, was born in Normandie in 
1743, and was therefore the oldest member of the Com- 
mittee. He was practicing as an avocat in his little native 
town of Bernay when he was chosen to the Legislative 
Assembly in September 1791. He was elected to the 
Convention, where he made a reputation as an admirable 
worker on committees, but his weak voice prevented him 
from speaking. 

The two members of the Committee who especially 
looked after the internal administration of France, and 
who were the real rulers of the country under the Terror, 
were Billaud-Varenne and Collot d'Herbois. The former 
was the son of an avocat at La Rochelle, where he was 
born on the 23 April 1756. He at first intended to follow 
his father's profession and study law, but he changed his 
mind and became a teacher in the Oratorian college at 
Juilly, where he had as one of his colleagues the notorious 
Fouche. In 1785 he went to Paris and began the practice 
of law, but did not have much success. He made his name 
known through the publication of several political pam- 
phlets, and also became a regular attendant at the Jacobin 
and Cordeliers clubs. During the September Massacres, 
he was elected to the Convention from Paris. It was he 
who really systematized the Terror, of which he was 
the most courageous defender. 

Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois is said to have been born 
in Paris in 1750 and to have been the son of a bourgeois. 
Little is known about his education. Early in his career 
he devoted himself to the theatre, and became in turn 
actor, manager, and dramatic author. He came to Paris 
early in the Revolution, and was elected a member of the 
Convention, of which he became president in 1793. 

In connection with the Committee, it only remains to 
speak of Herault de Sechelles, the friend of Danton, and 
of Barere, the habitual spokesman of the Committee. 



Marie-Jean Herault de Sechelles, in birth and manners, 
differed entirely from the rest of his colleagues and must 
at times have felt himself strangely out of place. He was 
the descendant of an ancient family of Normandiej his 
uncle was the Marechal de Contades, and his father, a 
colonel in the army, was killed at the head of his regi- 
ment at the battle of Minden. He was born in Paris in 
1760, the year of his father's death, and received a good 
education. He was introduced at Court by his cousin, 
Madame de Polignac, and the Queen took a great fancy 
to the handsome youth. From his reputation as an orator 
and his Court influence, he made a great success at the bar, 
and was promoted to be avocat-general to the Parlement 
of Paris at the unprecedented age of twenty-five. He 
took part in the attack on the Bastille and was one of the 
first to enter the fortress. His action on this occasion 
caused him to be hated by the Royalists, and from that 
time on he was thrown more and more with the popular 
party. In September 1791 he was elected a deputy to the 
Legislative Assembly for the department of the Seine. 
He was elected to the Convention, but in November was 
sent on a mission, and so was absent at the time of the 
trial of the King. On his return to Paris he allied him- 
self closely with Danton and was his only friend on the 

Bertrand Barere was born at Tarbes in 1755^ he 
studied law, and began his professional life in Toulouse. 
He was a deputy to the National Assembly, and was also 
elected a member of the Convention, of which he was 
president at the time of the trial of the King. He voted 
in favor of death and against the appeal to the people. 
In January 1793, he became a member of the Committee 
of General Defence, and in April, of the Committee of 
Public Safety, of which he was the spokesman before the 
Convention. Originally a supporter of Robespierre, he 
was to take a leading part in his downfall, and to sur- 
vive the Revolution by many years, dying in 1841 at the 
age of eighty-six. Macaulay, in one of his Essays, ex- 
presses the extravagant opinion that " Barere approached 

[ 261 ] 


nearer than any person mentioned in history or fiction, 
man or devil, to the idea of consummate and universal 

It is obvious that it was the foreign war which devel- 
oped with such astonishing rapidity the progress of the 
Revoludon. The attack on the Tuileries in August had 
been caused mainly by Brunswick's manifesto, and the 
September Massacres were due to the news of the sur- 
render at Verdun. It was the battle of Neerwinden which 
led to the organization of the Revolutionary Tribunal, 
and the desertion, of Dumouriez which brought about the 
establishment of the Committee of Public Safety. To the 
foreign war was due the bitterness of the Revolutionary 
spirit at Paris, and the organization of the system of the 
Terror. The foreign war also led to the fall of the Giron- 
dins, who had done more than any one else to bring it on. 

As soon as these important measures had been taken, 
which the leaders of the Convention believed would en- 
able France to drive the invaders across the frontiers, the 
two principal parties, the Girondins and the Jacobins, 
turned upon each other with renewed ardor, and the 
death-struggle began. The Girondins opened the battle 
with an attack upon Marat. Few steps could have been 
more ill-advised: Marat was no favorite in the Conven- 
tion, but he remained the idol of the people of Paris, and 
in attacking him the Girondins exasperated the whole 
populace. As president of the Jacobin Club, on the fifth 
of April, Marat had signed the circular inciting the people 
to civil war. For this, the Convention on the 1 2 April de- 
creed that he should be arrested and sent before the Revo- 
ludonary Tribunal. Less than half of the deputies were 
present and many of the more important Girondins ab- 
stained from voting. By way of retaliation, two days later, 
thirty-five sections of Paris demanded the expulsion 
from the Convention of twenty-two of the leading Giron- 
dins as " disturbers of the public peace," including nearly 
all of the principal members. The Girondins were indig- 
nant at this proposition but did not attempt any regular 



The trial of Marat took place on the 22 April, and he 
was unanimously acquitted, although most of the judges 
of the Revolutionary Tribunal sympathized with the 
Girondins. This was a fearful blow to the Girondin party, 
and Marat was hailed as " the martyr of liberty." 

On the 10 May 1793 the Convention left the Manege 
to sit in the Tuileries. The place of meeting was the old 
Salle des Machines, also known as the Salle de Spectacle, 
in the north wing of the Tuileries, between the Pavilion 
de I'Horloge and the Pavilion de Marsan. The hall 
occupied the whole width of the north wing, and was the 
largest theatre in Europe, with a capacity of seven or eight 
thousand spectators. It was constructed in 1662 under the 
reign of Louis the Fourteenth, and was opened with the 
first performance of the " Psyche " of Moliere. 

Roland had had charge of remodelling the old theatre, 
and the alterations were not a success. The hall was 
originally 236 feet long, 54 feet high, and took up the 
whole width of the palace, 69 feet. Some time before the 
Revolution, the hall had been diminished by a good third. 
This third was transformed into two rooms, one of which 
was used by the guards of the Convention, and the other 
as a waiting-room for the deputations who visited the 
Assembly. The vestibule on the side of the Carrousel, the 
grand staircase, and the ancient Chapel, transformed into 
a Salon de la Liberte, led to a side door and a corridor by 
which the representatives reached the Convention hall. 
This room, by a complication of vestibules or ante-rooms, 
halls and stairways, had been finally reduced to the 
dimensions of 46 yards in length by 17 yards in width 
and 18 yards in height. The galleries, which were ar- 
ranged in three tiers, at the right and left, and also in 
a semicircle around the amphitheatre where the members 
sat, could accommodate at least 1 500 spectators, and nearly 
double that number when crowded. The space for the 
deputies was so limited that they could hardly move after 
they had once taken their places. The hall was badly 
lighted, poorly ventilated, and the acoustic properties were 



defective, but it was finely decorated with garlands of 
laurel and bas-reliefs. The committee-rooms were con- 
veniently placed in close proximity, the Committee of 
Public Safety in the Pavilion de Flore, and the Commit- 
tee of General Security in the opposite Pavilion de Mar- 
sanj but the very real inconveniences of the new installa- 
tion caused the deputies to forget these advantages. The 
guillotine, which up to that date had been located in the 
Carrousel before the palace, was at this time transferred 
to the Place de la Revolution. 

Throughout the month of May, preparations went on 
for the final struggle between the two parties. The Paris 
Commune, which supported the Jacobins, and which 
idolized Marat, had decided to intervene, employing its 
customary weapon: physical force. It organized an in- 
surrection against the Girondins with a real army of 
80,000 men. Marat himself climbed to the belfry of the 
Hotel-de-Ville and with his own hand sounded the tocsin. 
The self-styled "Friend of the People " was the leader 
of this movement, which lasted from the 31 May to the 
2 June. The Tuileries were surrounded by the insurrec- 
tionary troops J the Convention was the prisoner of the 
Commune, and the French Government was at the mercy 
of the Paris mob. The Commune demanded the expul- 
sion of the Girondist leaders from the Convention. The 
deputies protested indignantly against the conduct of the 
insurgents, and resolved to leave the hall in a body. They 
were received with mocked deference by the insurgents, 
but their demand that the troops disperse was bluntly re- 
fused until the denounced Girondists had been expelled. 
The members of the Convention, conquered and de- 
graded, returned to their hall, and voted the arrest of 
twenty-nine Girondists. This victory of the Commune was 
the triumph of the Jacobins, who now became masters of 
the Convention. In all, thirty-one individuals, including 
two ministers, were ordered to be kept under surveil- 
lance in their own homes. 

The Jacobins now made a bold front against their 



enemies, both on the frontiers and in France, for dangers 
had everywhere to be faced. During the months of June 
and July, Conde and Valenciennes were taken by the 
Allies 5 the English blockaded Dunkerquej Mayence sur- 
rendered to the Prussians, and the Spaniards invaded 
southern France. Everywhere the foreign foes were suc- 
cessful, and in France itself the insurrection in La Vendee 
had become more formidable. 

In June, many of the arrested Girondins escaped from 
Paris and the rest of the prisoners, who could have es- 
caped and would not take the opportunity, were impris- 
oned in the Luxembourg. But the excitement over the 
flight of the deputies was thrown into the shade by the 
report that Marat had been murdered by a young girl. 

The " Friend of the People " had been confined to his 
house in the Rue des Cordeliers by a severe illness, and 
had not been able to attend the sittings of the Conven- 
tion since the first of June. He could only find relief in 
sitting in a hot bath. A young girl living at Caen, in west- 
ern Normandie, had become much excited in listening to 
the conversation of some of the escaped Girondin depu- 
ties. Her name was Charlotte Corday, and she was a de- 
scendant of the great dramatist Corneille. She was born 
in 1768 and was therefore twenty-five years of age at 
this time. Without informing any one of her purpose, 
she decided to go to Paris, and obtained a letter of intro- 
duction to one of the deputies in the caDltal. On her 
arrival, she wrote Marat, stating that she had important 
news to give him regarding the escaped Girondins. Re- 
ceiving no reply, she called at his house, but was refused 
admittance. She then wrote another letter which had 
the desired effect. Armed with a knife which she had 
purchased in one of the shops of the Palais-Royal, she 
again called in the evening and was received by Marat, 
who was sitting in his bath. While he was writing down 
the names of the deputies at Caen, she stabbed him to 
the heart. By most writers Charlotte Corday has been 
treated as a martyr: in reality she was guilty of a most 
cold-blooded murder which produced no good result 

[ 265 ] 


whatever. Marat was already a dying man, and at the 
time he was practically without influence. Charlotte was 
tried by the Revolutionary Tribunal, found guilty, and 
executed on the 17 July. 

In the meantime, matters continued to go badly for the 
French on the northern frontier. Dampierre, who had 
succeeded Dumouriez in command, was killed in a skir- 
mish early in May, and before Custine, who had been 
appointed to succeed him, could arrive at headquarters. 
The Austrians under Cobourg, and the English under the 
Duke of York, had united their armies and besieged 
Conde, which capitulated on the 10 June. Valenciennes, 
which was also besieged, surrendered on the 28 July 
after a bombardment of forty-three days. Only a serious 
dispute between Cobourg and York now prevented the 
allied army from marching directly on Paris. York in- 
sisted on turning aside towards Dunkerque, while the 
Austrians besieged Le Quesnoy. The middle of Septem- 
ber York was obliged to raise the siege after being de- 
feated at Hondschoote by a French force organized by 
Camot, who had then just entered the Committee of 
Public Safety. After raising the siege, the Duke of York 
retreated rapidly towards the Prince of Cobourg. But 
before he joined Cobourg, the latter was defeated at 
Wattignies on the 15 October by a French army under 
the command of General Jourdan, a veteran soldier of 
the American war, whom Carnot had appointed com- 
mander-in-chief. Cobourg retired over the frontier and 
eventually joined the Duke of York in Belgium. 

At the same time, on the Rhine, the great event was 
the siege of Mayence. When Custine retired from Ger- 
many, he left 22,CX)0 men to garrison the city under the 
command of several generals, of whom the most famous 
was Kleber. Two deputies on mission. Merlin of Thion- 
ville and Reubell, were also present in the city. The 
place was not well provisioned, and the Prussians ex- 
pected a short siege and an easy conquest. However, the 
courage of the two deputies inspired the young volun- 
teers, and the defence of Mayence is famous in the his- 



tory of sieges. The soldiers expected speedy relief either 
from General Alexandre de Beauharnais, who had suc- 
ceeded Custine in the command of the Army of the Rhine, 
or from the Army of the Moselle. After every animal 
in the city, down to the very rats, had been eaten, May- 
ence surrendered on the 23 June. The Convention de- 
clared that the defenders " had deserved well of the 
country," and at the same time ordered the arrest of 
Custine and Beauharnais, for not having better provi- 
sioned, or relieved the city. As the garrison had sur- 
rendered on condition that the soldiers should not serve 
in foreign wars for a period of one year, the gallant de- 
fenders of Mayence, now reduced from 22,000 to 8000 
men, were ordered to the Vendee. After the capture of 
Mayence, the Prussians made no further efforts. But the 
Austrians, under Marshal Wurmser, invaded Alsace, and 
on the 13 October carried the famous lines of Wissem- 
bourgj after which, Pichegru was placed in command of 
the Army of the Rhine. 

The rebellion in La Vendee, to which has been attrib- 
uted the highest motives of religion and loyalty, was by 
no means so romantic as has generally been represented. 
It may safely be affirmed that religious and political 
motives had very little to do with the uprising. As al- 
ready stated, the first cause of the insurrection was the 
decree of the 24 February for the levy of 300,000 men 
for the wars on the frontier. 

The first disturbances lasted but a very short time, 
and were everywhere easily put down. But the severe 
retaliation of the representatives of the Convention im- 
parted a feeling of bitterness to the people, and the peas- 
ants soon rose again. It was, therefore, almost with joy 
that the Convention learned that the garrison of Mayence, 
when that city surrendered, had sworn not to serve for 
one year against a foreign foe, and could therefore be 
ordered to La Vendee. The defenders of Mayence, under 
their famous generals, Kleber and Marceau, and their 
equally famous deputies. Merlin and Reubell, marched 
slowly across France to the seat of war. But the arrival 



of these troops did not bring immediate success, for the 
early part of September, the Republicans lost no less 
than five important battles. On the 17 September, how- 
ever, the Vendeans were finally defeated in the great 
battle of Cholet by the Mayence troops under the com- 
mand of Kleber. In this battle the two ablest leaders of 
the Vendee were mortally wounded, and the whole re- 
bellion fell to pieces. 

Early in June, insurrections against the Convention 
also broke out in the great cities of Lyon, Marseille, Bor- 
deaux and Caen. In July, the Army of the Alps was 
ordered to advance on Lyon, and these troops were later 
reenforced by soldiers from the Northern Army. After 
a long siege, the Republican army finally entered the city 
on the ninth of October. 

The resistance of Marseille was not so long or so 
spirited as that of Lyon. Carteaux was sent against the 
city with troops drawn from the Army of the Alps. 
Among his soldiers was a young Corsican by the name of 
Bonaparte who was serving as captain in the artillery 
regiment formerly known as that of Grenoble. The regu- 
lar troops in Marseille went over to Carteaux, the National 
Guard of the city refused to fight, and the Republican 
forces entered the city without resistance. 

Great indignation had been felt at Bordeaux over the 
events of the second of June at Paris. The inhabitants of 
the department of the Gironde were very proud of their 
eloquent deputies, and steps were taken to enlist volun- 
teers to march on Paris. The middle of October, General 
Brune encamped in front of the city, and on the sixteenth 
the forces of the Convention quietly entered the place. 

These risings were paralyzed by the want of harmony 
with each other and by the absence of men of real in- 
fluence as leaders. In every case, a Revolutionary Com- 
mission was appointed to punish those who had opposed 
the Convention, and there were many executions. 

The failure of the movement at Caen, however, cannot 
be attributed to lack of leaders, as no less than seventeen 

[ 268 ] 



of the escaped Girondins were assembled there before the 
end of July. They were well received by the people, and 
at once took steps to raise an army to act against the Con- 
vention. They had no difficulty in finding an experienced 
general in Felix de Wimpfen, who had risen to the rank 
of marechal-de-camp in the old Royal army. However, 
the whole influence of the Girondin deputies could only 
collect a force of 40CX) men. The chief of the army of the 
Convention was General Sepher, whose name does not 
occur again in the history of the Revolution. But his sec- 
ond in command was an artist named Brune, who became 
Marshal of France under the Empire, and was cruelly 
murdered after the fall of Napoleon in 18 15. On the 13 
July, the two armies met at the little village of Pacy, 
and the Parisians claimed a great victory. After this the 
insurgent army melted away. 

The troops of the Convention were accompanied by 
Robert Lindet, as representative on mission. He showed 
great leniency and did not order a single execution. 

These insurrections had been participated in by sixty 
out of eighty-three departments, three-fourths of France. 
To allay the strong distrust of Paris felt by the depart- 
ments, and to show them that they need not fear the 
dictatorship of the Commune, the Convention drafted in 
great haste a new constitution. The Constitution of 1793, 
the second in the history of the Revolution, so carefully 
guarded the rights of the departments and the rights of 
the people that it made dictation from Paris impossible. 

The new Constitution established universal suffrage; 
provided that the legislative bodies must be elected only 
for a year j and that all laws were to be submitted to the 
people for ratification or rejection before being put into 
force. This is the first appearance in history of the 

When submitted to the voters, the Constitution was 
overwhelmingly ratified, by nearly two million votes in 
the affirmative, with less than twelve thousand in the 
negative. The number of the inhabitants of France at that 
time was about twenty-eight millions. Under the regime 

[ 269 ] 


of universal suflFrage, the electoral body formed approxi- 
mately one quarter of the population. There were there- 
fore nearly seven million electors, of whom three out of 
four abstained from voting. 

The new Constitution left the central government so 
weak that every one agreed that it could not be put into 
immediate effect, with foreign armies invading France 
from every direction : the crisis demanded a strong govern- 
ment. Consequently, by general consent, the Constitution 
was immediately suspended, to be put into operation as 
soon as the crisis was over. Meanwhile, this precious docu- 
ment was placed in a box in the centre of the hall of the 
Convention, where it was very much in the way. 

If Robert Lindet had been wise enough not to punish 
the followers and dupes of the Girondins, after the in- 
surrection in Normandie, he vigorously pursued the depu- 
ties themselves. Whither to escape they knew not. They 
had been outlawed by a decree of the 28 July, and in 
every quarter of France the Convention was triumphant. 
They fled in every direction, some separately and some 
in bands. The story of their adventures reads like an ex- 
citing romance. Five of them left Bretagne for Bordeaux, 
where they arrived too late to take part in the insurrec- 
tion of the Gironde. A month later Petion, Buzot, Bar- 
baroux, Louvet, Valady, and Guadet, also sailed for the 
South, and met some of their former colleagues, who had 
preceded them, wandering about in search of an asylum. 
Guadet promised to protect them, and since his father's 
house at Saint-fimilion was closely watched, he asked his 
sister-in-law to receive them. She consented, and hid eight 
of the proscribed deputies in an old Roman quarry in 
her garden at Saint-femilion, to which access was to be 
had only by going down a deep well. Here they remained 
in safety for some weeks, but in November were forced 
to leave their refuge, on the approach of cold weather. 
Louvet could no longer be kept away from Paris and his 
ladylove, and after incurring terrible dangers, he got 
back to Paris. Here his mistress concealed him in a cellar 



for two months, and afterwards contrived his escape to 
the mountains of Jura, where he remained untiLthe end 
of the Terror. 

The fate of the five who remained at Saint-fimilion 
was very sad. When forced to leave the quarry, Guadet 
and Salle were received in the house of the former's 
father, where they lived for many months in a garret 
under the roof. In June 1794, the house was searched 
and the two Girondins were discovered in their little 
attic. They were brought before the revolutionary com- 
mittee of Bordeaux, and were at once guillotined. 

In the meantime, Barbaroux, Petion and Buzot had been 
concealed in the little house of a poor hairdresser at 
Saint-fimilion. On hearing of the arrest of their col- 
leagues, they at once decided to leave the house and try 
and cross the Spanish frontier. But they were discovered, 
and Barbaroux attempted to commit suicide by shooting 
himself through the head. He was taken prisoner and re- 
moved to Bordeaux where he was guillotined. Petion and 
Buzot managed to escape by hiding in a pine forest; but 
their spirit was broken by their long suffering and the 
death of their comrade, and in despair the former popu- 
lar mayor of Paris, and the lover of Madame Roland, 
blew out their brains. 

Thus one by one perished the majority of the men of 
genius who had exercised so great an influence on the 
history of the Revolution. The greatest mistake of the 
Girondin party was the declaration of war in April 1792. 
The Girondins were theorists and not men of action 5 
they could all think, talk and write, but none of them 
ever didfanything. When Verdun had fallen and the Prus- 
sians were in the heart of France, while Danton was cry- 
ing out for volunteers, the Girondins occupied themselves 
with petty squabbles. It is needless to auote further in- 
stances: at no critical moment did any leader of the Giron- 
dins do any great deed. But their last fatal mistake was in 
encouraging civil war at the moment when France needed 
all of her strength to meet the foreign foes whom they 
had raised up. The people could forgive many things, 



but not lack of patriotism. Yet the fall of the Girondins 
has something very pathetic about it. They died un- 
stained by the cruelty and the vices of the Jacobins, and 
the enthusiasm which they showed in their speeches and 
their writings creates a sympathy with their fate, which 
has impressed posterity and has made their names 





New Plots to Rescue the Queen — Separated from the Dauphin — 
Transferred to the Conciergerie — Her Life There — Her 
Trial and Execution — The Day of Her Death — Her Char- 
acter — Trial and Execution of the Girondins — The Death of 
%alite — Execution of Madame Roland and Suicide of Her 
Husband — Executions of Bailly, Duport, Barnave and Many 

DURING the six months that Marie-Antoinette re- 
mained in the Temple after the death of her hus- 
band, numerous plans were formed to rescue her. 
At least one of these plots might have been successful if 
she had been willing to leave alone, without her children 
and her sister-in-law, but this she absolutely refused to 
do. She insisted that they must all be saved together. 

On the third of July, her son, who was then a little 
boy of eight years, was taken from her and confided to 
the care of the cobbler Simon and his wife. Although the 
Dauphin was not treated by them in as barbarous a man- 
ner as generally represented by the Royalist writers, he 
certainly failed to receive the affectionate care and tender 
attentions to which he had been accustomed all his life. 
To Marie-Antoinette this was the greatest grief which 
she had yet been called upon to undergo. 

The daring attempts of Batz and Maison-Rouge to 
communicate with the Queen and arrange her escape had 
attracted the notice of the Committee of General Security, 
and Fouquier-Tinville, the public accuser, was directed 
to make preparations for her trial. On the second day of 
August, at one o'clock in the morning, several policemen 

[ 273] 


entered the chamber of the Queen, and notified her that 
the Convention had ordered her transferred to the Con- 
ciergerie. The decree was executed at once. Henriot, the 
commander of the Parisian troops, had massed a large 
body of men around the Temple j and an escort of twenty 
gendarmes awaited in the court. Marie-Antoinette 
dressed quickly, embraced her daughter and her sister- 
in-law, packed a small handbag, and followed her guar- 
dians. It was about three o'clock in the morning when the 
cortege arrived at the Conciergerie. The Queen was con- 
fined in a cell hastily prepared for her, which had been 
previously occupied by General Custine. It was a low, 
cold, damp room on the ground floor, situated at the end 
of a corridor. It is the room which to-day is occupied 
by the cantine of the prison of the Conciergerie. She was 
guarded by two gendarmes by the names of Gilbert and 
Dufresne, and two women were placed at her service, the 
octogenarian mother of the turnkey, and a young girl 
named Rosalie. The latter, who was simple and unedu- 
cated, showed herself very kind and attentive. The aged 
woman was soon replaced by another servant, the woman 
Harel, whom the Queen always distrusted. 

The Conciergerie was, as the name indicates, the former 
porter's lodge of the royal palace of the kings of France, 
situated on the Isle de la Cite. The site is now occupied 
by the enormous buildings of the Palais de Justice, and 
all that remains of the old palace is the Conciergerie, 
which forms one of the wings, and the beautiful Sainte 
Chapelle, built by Saint Louis. 

^ After the reign of Louis the Eleventh, the palace defi- 
nitely ceased to be a royal residence, and became the seat 
of justice, that is to say of the Parlement, and of the 
different courts of the city. 

The Revolutionary Tribunal, which had been instituted 
the 10 March 1793, upon the proposition of Danton, sat 
in the Palais de Justice, in the former lare:e room of the 
Parlement of Paris. Constructed by Saint Louis, this hall 
formed, with the buildings of the Conciergerie, what was 
called the Petit-Palais. This room, which was originally 



the chamber of the King, became at a later date the throne- 
room j here Louis the Eleventh received the ambassadors, 
gave public audiences, and rendered justice to his sub- 
jects. By the irony of fate, it was from this hall that the 
Revolutionary Tribunal sent 2669 victims to the scafiFold. 

In the Conciergerie a new life began for Marie-An- 
toinette. She devoted most of her morning to the care of 
her toilette, which she never neglected. After her death, 
they found in her room a little box of pomade, a box of 
powder and a powder-puff. The authorities had refused 
her the use of a mirror, and Rosalie loaned her own every 
morning. Her wardrobe was not as limited as frequently 
represented. The authorities had sent her from the 
Temple a very good supply of underclothing, dresses, and 
other necessary articles. The food furnished her was very 
good. The provision dealers of the neighborhood took 
care to send her the daintiest morsels. 

Her afternoons she passed in reading, two of her favor- 
ite books being " The Voyages of Captain Cook " and 
" The English Revolutions." She was allowed no light at 
night, and her evenings were passed in complete darkness. 
She undressed by the feeble light of a reflector in the 
women's court. 

The worst of her trials was the constant espionage of 
which she was the object: the presence of the two gen- 
darmes, who never allowed her out of their sight, and 
who watched her every movement. Nevertheless her 
guardians willingly closed their eyes upon the presence 
of certain visitors who, dressed in borrowed clothing, 
under pretext of curiosity, managed to enter the prison. 
This explains the curious fact, now well established, of 
the visit to Marie- Antoinette in her cell of a refractory 
pnest, who said Mass, and gave the communion to the 
Queen and her guardians. This priest was the Abb6 
Maofnin, who, dressed in the costume of a merchant, 9nd 
under the name of Monsieur Charles, during the whole 
period of the Terror performed his religious functions, 
visiting all the prisons. He survived the Revolution and 
died after the Restoration. 

[ 275 ] 


Even in the Conciergerie, plots were formed to rescue 
the Queen. But none of them came anywhere near suc- 
cess, and the details are so vague and so confused that it 
is impossible to say much on the subject. 

A second cell is shown to-day to visitors as the place 
where the Queen was confined the last month of her 
life. This room had formerly served as the pharmacy j 
it was quite large, and had two grated windows, one look- 
ing out on the women's court and the other upon the 
infirmary. In this room the two guardians were placed 
behind a screen which permitted them to see everything. 

The alleged discovery of a plot to rescue the Queen 
was the pretext for hastening her trial. On the second 
of September, at eleven o'clock in the evening, the Com- 
mittee of Public Safety assembled secretly at the house 
of Pache, the mayor of Paris. The session lasted all night. 
The details of this meeting are known through a report 
sent to London by a secretary of the Committee, who had 
been bribed by the English Government. As a result of 
this all-night conference, the Committee resolved on the 
death of the Queen. 

For a period of four weeks they endeavored in vain 
to draw up the indictment. They tortured with odious 
questions Madame Elisabeth, Madame Royale, and all 
the other witnesses that they could find who were familiar 
with the life of the Queen. The only evidence which they 
could obtain was drawn from the little Dauphin, who 
made an incriminating reply to a question which, in his 
innocence, he did not understand. Herman, the president 
of the Revolutionary Tribunal, forced the Queen to sub- 
mit to a long and cruel examination, in which he brought 
up all the legends about her conduct: the hundred mil- 
lions sent to Austria, the correspondence with the £mi- 
gres, and the plots formed for the massacre of the people. 
To all the questions she replied calmly and in a dignified 

The tribunal which judged the Queen was composed 
of^ the president, four judges, the public accuser, the 
chief clerk, and fifteen jurymen. The president was 



Herman, and the public accuser, Fouquier-Tinville. The 
latter was born in 1746, the son of a rich farmer, in the 
neighborhood of Saint-Quentin. In his youth he affected 
a great deal of zeal for the Monarchy. He was named 
public accuser through the influence of Danton and 
Camille Desmoulins, both of whose heads he was to 
cause to fall on the scaffold. Nearly all classes of society 
figured among the members of the jury 5 and, almost 
without exception, the men who took part in the trial 
and condemnation of the Queen were themselves to 
perish on the scaffold. 

The two avocats of Marie- Antoinette were Tronson and 
Chauveau. The former, born in 1750, was already cele- 
brated as a lawyer before the Revolution. After the death 
of the Queen, he concealed himself until the end of the 
Terror. Elected as a member of the Council of the 
Ancients, he was, after the 18 Fructidor, deported to 
Cayenne, where he died. Chauveau also defended Char- 
lotte Corday and Madame Elisabeth before the Revolu- 
tionary Tribunal. Later, he was prominent as a lawyer 
under the Empire, and during the reign of Charles the 
Tenth, dying in 1844 ^t the age of seventy-nine. 

Most of the witnesses had been called on account of 
their supposed hostility to the Queen. Among the best 
known were: Estaing, who commanded the National 
Guard at Versailles in 1789^ the Marquis de La Tour du 
Pin, a former Minister of War; Manuel, former pro- 
cureur of the Commune; Bailly, at one time mayor of 
Paris; and finally Valaze, one of the leaders of the Gi- 
ronde. None of the witnesses just named testified against 
the Queen with the exception of Valaze, who was con- 
demned with the Girondins and committed suicide to 
escape the scaffold. All of the witnesses favorable to the 
Queen were destined to share her fate. 

The trial began at the Palais de Justice on the 1 2 Octo- 
ber and lasted for four days. Fouquier-Tinville prose- 
cuted in person, and no less than forty witnesses were ex- 
amined. On the fourteenth the hearing lasted without 
interruption from eight o'clock in the morning until four 



in the afternoon, then from five to eight in the evening, 
and again the following day from nine until three. Dur- 
ing these seventeen mortal hours, the Queen, dressed in 
mourning, her hair carefully arranged, wearing a bonnet 
of linen trimmed with black crepe, proud, majestic, seated 
opposite the prosecutor, endured without weakening the 
outrageous accusations, and the foolish questions of the 
president and the jury. Only once did she become indig- 
nant, when questioned regarding the monstrous admission 
obtained from her little son. Then, in response to the 
observation of a member of the jury, that she had not 
answered th\s accusation, she exclaimed with noble emo- 
tion: " I have not answered because Nature refuses to 
answer such a charge brought against a mother 5 I appeal 
to all the mothers who are here." 

The speech of the public prosecutor occupied the 
evening of the fifteenth and a good part of the night. 
The session was not adjourned until four o'clock in the 
morning, for the meeting of the jury and the rendering of 
the verdict. It was a very cold morning, but a multitude 
of people awaited the news. The delay was not long, and 
it was soon known that the jury had unanimously voted 
for the death penalty. 

The jury returned to the hall and the Queen was sent 
for. She listened without a word, without a gesture, to 
the reading of the sentence. She seemed " overwhelmed 
with astonishment " rather than with fear. When asked 
if she had any remarks to make regarding the sentence, 
she simply shook her head, opened the balustrade, and 
walked out in silence. 

It was nearly five o'clock in the morning when the 
Queen returned to the Conciergerie, where she was con- 
fined in the cell of those condemned to death. She im- 
mediately asked for paper and ink, and obtained this 
favor which had been previously refused. With a firm 
hand, in her fine and neat handwriting, she then wrote 
a letter to her sister-in-law, which, still stained with tears, 
can be seen to-day in the National Archives. This letter is 
too long to quote, but towards the end can be read those 



words which seem to be a final thought addressed to one 
whose affection had been the supreme incident of her life: 
" I had some friends. The idea of being separated from 
them forever, and their grief, are the greatest regrets 
which I feel in dying. Let them at least know that, even 
in my last moments, I thought of them." She concludes 
her letter by expressing the hope that it may be received 
by her sister-in-law, but the letter never reached its 
destination. It was intercepted by Fouquier-Tinville, who 
forwarded it to Robespierre, among whose papers it was 
found by Courtois, after the 9 Thermidor. The latter 
appropriated it, and it was only after the Restoration that 
the letter was seized by the Royal Government. 

Towards eight o'clock, the Queen wished to change 
her clothes before going to the scaffold. The guardians, 
in spite of her request, refused to leave her alone for a 
moment, and she was obliged to submit to this last affront. 

Carlyle says: " Two Processions, or Royal Progresses, 
three-and-twenty years apart, have often struck us with 
a strange feeling of contrast. The first is of a beautiful 
Archduchess and Dauphiness, quitting her Mother's City, 
at the age of Fifteen, towards hopes such as no other 
Daughter of Eve then had. . . . The young imperial 
Maiden of Fifteen has now become a wofn discrowned 
Widow of Thirty-eight, gray before her time: this is the 
last Procession." 

On the 16 October 1793, from five o'clock in the 
morning, the drums were beating to arms in all the sec- 
tions of Paris. At seven o'clock, thirty thousand troops 
were at their posts. Cannon were placed at the ends of 
all the bridges, and in all the cross-streets from the Palais 
de Justice to the Place de la Revolution. By ten o'clock, 
numerous patrols were circulating in the streets} and at 
the same hour the people in crowds were proceeding to 
the place of execution. 

Since daybreak, the neighborhood of the Palais de 
Justice had been crowded by the curiosity-seekers. Eleven 
o'clock had been fixed as the hour for the departure of 
Marie-Antoinette, and a few minutes later she appeared. 

[ 279 ] 


A cart was drawn up under the arcade near the grand 
staircase. The Queen could not suppress a movement of 
surprise: she had expected a fiacre. It was in a carriage 
that Louis had been conducted to the scaffold, and in a 
cab that she herself had been transferred from the Temple 
to the Conciergerie. She had also expected that, like the 
King, her hands would not be bound j but in this, too, 
she was to be disappointed. The cart was dirty, and for a 
seat there was only a bare plank. 

The Queen was dressed in a deshabille of white pique 
and a black skirt j a fichu of white muslin around her neckj 
a linen bonnet, without streamers, or marks of mourning; 
black stockings and woolen slippers. Her hair was cut 
short in the neck. 

She was accompanied by a Constitutional priest in lay 
dress, and was escorted by numerous detachments of in- 
fantry and cavalry. These, and the double lines of troops 
all along the route, she appeared to regard with indiffer- 
ence. On her countenance there was visible neither abash- 
ment nor pride. To the cries of " Vive la Republique " 
and " Down with Tyranny," which attended her all the 
way, she seemed to pay no heedj and she spoke little to 
her confessor. 

The cart slowly traversed the Pont-au-Change, fol- 
lowed the quays as far as the Louvre, and then by the 
Rue du Roule entered the Rue Saint-Honore, and finally 
reached the Rue Royale, by which it proceeded to the 
place of execution in the Place de la Revolution. 

The painter David, who from a window saw her pass, 
has left us a realistic sketch, which is rather a caricature 
than a portrait. The future painter of the Coronation of 
the Emperor was then an ardent Jacobin, and his hand 
was guided by hate. 

The Place de la Revolution was crowded with specta- 
tors j the terraces of the Gardens of the Tuileries were 
filled; and there were even curiosity-seekers in the 
branches of the trees of the Champs-filysees. 

The scaffold was placed on the east side of the square, 
between the Statue of Liberty and the Tuileries Gardens. 



The eyes of the Queen were turned for a moment towards 
the " Jardin National," formerly Tuileries, and her face 
at that moment gave signs of lively emotion. Marie- 
Antoinette descended from the cart without assistance, and 
with a firm step mounted the scafFold. There was no 
need for the drums of Santerre to cover the voice of the 
condemned, for the Queen had not a word to say. At 
exactly a quarter past twelve, her head fell in the basket; 
the executioner showed it to the people, amid universal, 
long-continued cries of " Vive la Republique ! " 

The day of the execution, the mutilated body of the 
Queen was taken to the little cemetery of the Madeleine, 
in the Rue d'Anjou, near the present Boulevard Hauss- 
mann, where the King had been buried. At a later date, 
a faithful Royalist bought the cemetery in order to pre- 
serve the site J and here, in a simple garden, unmarked by 
any monument, the remains of the unfortunate King and 
Queen rested until after the Restoration. 

On the 1 8 January 1815, the work of searching for 
the graves began, and took two whole days. On the first 
day the remains of Marie-Antoinette were found, and on 
the second those of Louis the Sixteenth. On the 21 Janu- 
ary, anniversary of the death of Louis, the remains of 
the King and Queen were transferred with royal honors 
to Saint-Denis. Among the former friends of the Queen 
who took part in the ceremony was the Marquise de Tour- 
zel, governess of the Children of France, who shared her 
imprisonment in the Tuileries and in the Temple. 

At this same time, the cell which Marie-Antoinette had 
occupied in the Conciergerie was marked by a plaque of 
black marble, bearing an inscription in Latin composed 
by the King, Louis the Eighteenth, the former Comte de 
Provence; and on the site of the cemetery in the Rue 
d'Anjou, the first stone was laid of the Chapelle Expia- 
toire, which was not completed until eleven years later. 
Here every year, on the 16 October, the anniversary of 
the death of the Queen, a solemn Mass is said. 

" Before the story of agony written on that haggard, 
withered face, as shown in the pen and ink sketch made of 

[ 281 ] 


her by David, criticism is forced to be silent. Marie-An- 
toinette had many faults, and committed many political 
mistakes 5 she was her husband's evil genius, and for that 
reason the evil genius of France alsoj but she expiated 
her errors by months and years of terrible suffering, and 
however necessary it may have been to point out her faults 
and mistakes in the course of this history, before the 
spectacle of her death no feelings but those of pity can 
be expressed." This emotion of instinctive sympathy, as 
expressed by Mr. Stephens, must be shared by all those, 
who, in all times, undertake in good faith the study of 
Marie-Antoinette. " Frivolous in prosperity, courageous 
in adversity, touching in her martyrdom," says Monsieur 
de Segur, " her history is full of interest j her face pre- 
sents all the traits which can please, charm, and move; 
and her name will fascinate the generations to come, as 
long as there are among us indulgent smiles for the im- 
prudences of youth, tender looks for grace and beauty, 
and tears for misfortune." 

Next came the turn of the Girondins, whose trial lasted 
from the 24 to the 30 October. Mention has already been 
made of the fate of those Girondin leaders who escaped 
from Paris, but some of the greatest orators and thinkers 
had refused to leave Paris and join the insurgents in Nor- 
mandie, because they disapproved of civil war. Of the 
original twenty-nine deputies, ordered under arrest by 
the Convention on the second of June, twenty-one escaped 
and met with various fates j one was allowed to resign his 
seat in the Convention, while seven others, including 
Vergniaud, Gensonne, and Valaze, confident in their inno- 
cence, refused to leave Paris. But the insurrection, and still 
more the murder of Marat, exasperated the Jacobins 
against them, and on the 26 July, for fear of escape, they 
were removed from their own houses and confined in the 
Luxembourg, which was then first turned into a prison 
to receive them. 

On the third of October, a formal accusation was made 
in the Convention against the whole Girondin party, and 



their trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal was de- 
manded. Twenty-one were selected for immediate trial, 
namely, the seven just referred to, and fourteen others. 
These deputies were removed to the Conciergerie on the 
sixth of October, and on the twenty-fourth they were 
placed on trial in a body before four judges, presided 
over by Herman. In spite of their eloquent pleas, after 
a six days' trial they were all unanimously convicted, and 
condemned to death. On hearing the sentence, Valaze 
stabbed himself, and his dead body was taken back to the 
Conciergerie with the living prisoners. On the follow- 
ing day, the 31 October, the twenty condemned deputies 
were guillotined. After all, perhaps their fate was happier 
than that of their companions who had escaped, only to 
endure a lingering death in the south of France. 

Soon after the death of the Queen, the Due d'Orleans, 
Philippe-figalite, went to the Conciergerie first and then 
to the scaffold. It was not a full year since he had helped 
to send his cousin, Louis the Sixteenth, to the guillotine. 
Here and there, amidst this orgy of judicial murder, we 
find some act of essential justice. 

Nevertheless, figalite was not so black as he has been 
painted by most of the writers upon the period of the 
Revolution. Louis-Philippe-Joseph, Due d'Orleans, was 
born at Saint-Cloud on the 13 April 1747. During the 
lifetime of his grandfather, until he was five years of 
age, he bore the title of Due de Montpensier, and then 
that of Due de Chartres until the death of his father in 

Without speaking of his ancestor. Monsieur, the brother 
of Louis the Fourteenth, who was obedience and submis- 
sion itself, his great-grandfather, the Regent, showed the 
greatest devotion to the young Louis the Fifteenth; his 
grandfather, who passed the last years of his life in an 
abbaye, was almost a saint; and his father was an amiable 
and lovable man, who took no interest in politics. With 
such models before him, the young prince did not seem 
likely to play the part of a revolutionary. 

[ 283 ] 


He was much better educated than most of the young 
nobles of that period, and possessed a great facility of 
assimilation, with an active and acquisitive mind. At an 
early age he showed a taste for the arts, and a love of 
physical exercises. He had a tall and well-formed figure j 
an open countenance, and an agreeable expression j but in 
a few years debauchery played havoc with his looks and 
his physique. He was an expert in all kinds of exercises: 
a perfect horseman, an excellent fencer, and a fine dancer. 
Like the Regent, he took delight in disregarding the 
prejudices, the customs, and the convenances of the 
Court j and was carried away by his passion for pleasure. 

In 1769 he married the only daughter of the Due de 
Penthievre, one of the greatest heiresses in France, whose 
fortune had been doubled the previous year by the pre- 
mature death of her only brother, the Prince de Lamballe. 
Thus, by the irony of fate, the money which came from 
the illegitimate relations of the Grand Monarque and 
Madame de Montespan was to subsidize the Revolution. 
As though struck by a kind of presentiment, the King was 
very reluctant to give his consent to this union. The 
Duchesse, who was a charming woman, does not seem to 
have exercised much influence on his character. Orleans 
made frequent trips to London, where he became inti- 
mate with the Prince of Wales, the future George the 
Fourth. In England he acquired a taste for British opin- 
ions, manners and customs, which decidedly influenced his 
later career 5 and no one hailed with more enthusiasm than 
he the liberal ideas brought back from America by La 

In 1788 he disposed of many of the paintings of the 
splendid gallery of his palace, and devoted the eight 
million francs received from the sale to relieving the 
misery of the people during the terrible winter which fol- 
lowed. When we contrast this generosity with. the prod- 
igality of the Queen, and the apathy of the Court, it is 
not surprising that Orleans was so popular in Paris. 

During the early years of the reign he was on very 
good terms with Marie- Antoinette, and one of her favor- 



ite companions in her parties of pleasure. In January 
1777, he gave a splendid ball at the Palais-Royal in honor 
of the Queen. There are many explanations of his later 
antipathy for her, but it is not easy to find the real cause 
for that hostility. One account states that he was mortally 
offended because the Queen refused the hand of her 
daughter, Madame Royale, for his son, the Due de Char- 
tres, the future King Louis-Philippe, and gave the prefer- 
ence to the Due d'Angouleme, the son of Comte d'Artois, 
afterwards Charles the Tenth. After this his visits to 
Versailles were very infrequent, and he never occupied 
his apartment in the Chateau. 

Elected deputy to the States-General by the noblesse, 
he ranged himself from the first on the side of the 
people. The outbreak of October was attributed, at least 
in part, to his influence, and by the advice of La Fayette 
he was sent on an ostensible diplomatic mission to London, 
where he remained until recalled by the Assembly in the 
following July. 

On his return to Paris he became a regular attendant 
of the Jacobin Club, and invited to his table Danton and 
the members of the Cordeliers. No trace can be found of 
his actions in connection with the events of the 20 June 
or the 10 August. 

As a member of the Constituent, like all of his col- 
leagues, he was excluded from the Legislative Assembly, 
but was elected a member of the Convention, under the 
name of Philippe-figalite. In that body, either through 
personal fear or sincere conviction, he voted for the 
death of the King, and against the appeal to the people, 
but his action did not save his own life. 

On the 6 April 1793, by a decree of the Convention, 
all the members of the Bourbon family were placed 
under arrest, " to serve as hostages to the Republic." 
Three days later he was sent to Marseille, and all of his 
holdings were confiscated as national property. In Sep- 
tember he was brought back to Paris and imprisoned in 
the Conciergerie. On the 6 November he was put on 
trial for treason to the Republic, and condemned, al- 



though no proofs could be brought against him. He heard 
his sentence without emotion j dined gaily, and went 
bravely to his death. 

The Due d'Orleans was a man of a good mentality, 
easy-going, more fond of pleasure than of fame, with little 
application for work 5 careless, extravagant, living from 
day to day: loving the table, the chase, the play 5 better 
fitted for the boudoir than for public place 5 feeble rather 
than bad J to be pitied almost as much as to be blamed — 
in short, a sad and striking example of what the Revolu- 
tion could make of a character essentially weak. 

Next came the turn of Manon Roland. She had been 
in prison since the month of June, and in her cell she 
had written her famous memoirs. On the eighth of No- 
vember, dressed all in white, she was brought before her 
judges. One of her women friends saw her pass on her 
way to execution, " serene, cool, calm, smiling." As she 
mounted the scaffold her eyes fell on the Statue of 
Liberty, and she exclaimed, " Oh Liberty, what crimes 
are committed in thy name! " She was no saint, but she 
was a great personality. 

A few days later, her aged husband, hiding in a by- 
street of Rouen, heard the news of the death of Citizeness 
Roland shouted by the news-venders. The following 
morning, some four leagues from Rouen, on the road to 
Paris, there was found sitting, leaning against a tree, the 
figure of a wrinkled man, stiff now in the rigor of death, 
a sword-cane run through his heart. At his feet was this 
writing: " Whoever thou art that findest me lying, respect 
my remains: they are those of a man who consecrated all 
his life to being useful 5 and who has died as he lived, 
virtuous and honest." 

On the tenth of November, in a cold, bitter, drizzling 
rain, poor Bailly, the first president of the National As- 
sembly, and the first mayor of Paris, was led through 
the streets to his execution, while the howling populace 
covered him with curses and with mud. At last the pro- 
cession reached the Champ-de-Mars, which at that time 



was used as a second place of execution. The mob de- 
manded that his blood should not stain the place where 
the Altar of the Fatherland had been erected. So the 
guillotine was taken down, by hands numbed by the 
sleety rainfall, carried to the bank of the river, and there 
again set up. For hours the aged man waited amidst the 
torrent of curses and the bitter cold downpour. " Bailly, 
thou tremblest," said one. " Mon ami," said Bailly, 
" c'est de f roid." 

On the 28 November, Duport, the former Keeper of 
the Seals and Minister of Justice, and Barnave, the 
famous orator of the Constituent Assembly, and friend of 
Marie- Antoinette, met the same fate. 

And now the heads began to roll one upon the other 
into the headsman's basket. In December were sent to the 
guillotine: Madame du Barry, the former mistress of 
Louis the Fifteenth, who was condemned as a returned 
emigree, because she had gone to London in search of 
her jewels, which had been stolen j and General Biron, the 
ci-devant Due de Lauzun, and former general-in-chief of 
the Army of the Rhine. In January they were followed by 
old Marshal Luckner, and Jean Lamourette, who is best 
remembered by the incident of the " Baiser Lamourette." 

"A strange mixture," says Madelin, " servants and 
great nobles, nuns and courtesans, soldiers and deputies 
of the three Assemblies. . . . The judges' eyes were 
growing fiercer: the accuser made his batches larger and 
larger. The executions became the daily entertainment 
of the idle element of the population. The Law of the 
Suspects kept the prisons packed." 

And yet in this winter of 1793— 1794, Paris had not 
yet experienced the "Great Terror," which was not let 
loose there until after Germinal (March). 





Character of Robespierre — The New Revolutionary Calendar — 
Rivalry of Robespierre and Danton — Trial and Execution of 
Dan ton — Robespierre in Supreme Power — He Attacks Fouche 
— Barras, Tallien, and Fouche Plan the Overthrow of the 
Dictator — Tallien and Theresia — The Last Days of the 
Terror — Robespierre's Final Speech in the Convention — His 
Arrest with Four of His Followers — The Final Scene at the 
H6tel-de-Ville — Barras Commands the Troops of the Conven- 
tion — Robespierre and His Followers Executed 

AFTER the execution of the Girondins, now that 
Marat was out of the way, the two great rivals, 
Robespierre and Danton, stood face to face. 
Danton was passing through a period of terrible mental 
distress. The condemnation of the Girondins had filled 
him with consternation, and he was sickened by the Ter- 
ror. As if exhausted by his mighty efforts in 1792 and 
1793, he took but little part in the debates of the Con- 
vention. His apathy astonished all his colleagues. One 
night a friend remarked in his presence : " Ah ! if I were 
Danton! " "Danton sleeps," was the sudden answer, 
" but he will wake up yet! " But his great enemy Robes- 
pierre never slept. 

The character of Maximilien, the " Man of Virtue," 
is difficult to describe. A virtuous man he certainly was, 
upright, chaste, moral. He was not so ugly as he has 
generally been described: no authentic picture of him re- 
veals that " cat-face " of which Buzot spoke. His portrait 
by Danloux shows us a comely youth, by no means unpre- 
possessing, his nose and mouth just a trifle too wide; light 
green eyes glistening behind his blue spectacles. He was 



the perfection of neatness, his hair curled and powdered, 
his face clean-shaven, his thin little body buttoned into 
a blue or chestnut-colored coat worn over a kerseymer 
waistcoat and an embroidered shirt. This sans-culotte, too 
proud to sacrifice his appearance to Republican simplicity, 
wore silk breeches j and his garments remained spotless 
until that hideous morning of the lO Thermidor on which 
we shall see them spattered with his own blood. 

His greatest fault, the most odious feature of his char- 
acter, was his jealousy, which led him to add constantly 
to the number of his enemies. In the Convention he had 
but few friends: Saint-Just, Le Bas, Couthon, his brother 
Augustin, and perhaps David. His chief associate was 
Saint-Just, who was described by Barere as " a mind of 
fire, a heart of ice." " To found the republic of his 
dreams," wrote one of his friends, " he would have sacri- 
ficed his own head, and also the heads of a hundred 
thousand other men." He was devoted to the " Master," 
and served him well. 

A fanatic, too, was young Le Bas, who devoted his 
whole life to Robespierre, and then died for his sake. 

Robespierre, who was exceedingly conservative in all 
social matters, viewed with disapproval the eflForts of 
Hebert and Fouche in favor of a communistic revolution, 
and finally decided that the moment had come to put a 
stop to them. Another movement, emanating from the 
same quarter, not only offended but even scandalized him: 
these people had set out to dechristianize the country, 
and establish the triumph of Reason. 

The Convention also showed little inclination to favor 
this campaign, to which a considerable impetus had been 
given by the Revolutionary Calendar just adopted. Under 
the new arrangement there were to be twelve equal 
months of thirty days each, and the five odd days remain- 
ing were to be festivals. The year was to commence on 
the 22 September, the date that the Republic was pro- 
claimed. The new names of the months were Vende- 
miaire, Brumaire, Frimaire, and so on, the three just men- 
tioned meaning, month of the vintage, of fogs, and of 



frost, respectively. Each month was to be divided into 
three decades, the tenth or last day, called decadi, to be 
a day of rest. This in brief was the new calendar, which 
remained in force until it was abolished by Napoleon on 
the first day of January 1 806. 

Robespierre was now determined to overthrow the two 
opponents who stood in his way, Danton and Hebert. 
According to his wont, he procrastinated, but watched for 
his opportunity. After some deliberation, he came to the 
conclusion that, as Danton had many friends in the Con- 
vention, the wisest course would be to begin by striking 
at Hebert and his followers. This man Jacques Hebert 
represented everything that Robespierre most detested. 
He was a real power in the Commune, and was the editor 
of " Pere Duchesne," a scurrilous sheet which was more 
read than any other Paris newspaper. With Hebert over- 
thrown, the newspaper suppressed, the Commune of 
Hebert dissolved, and the Robespierrist Commune set 
up, the attack on Danton could be made, and the Con- 
vention would be forced to submit. 

During the winter the French armies had been every- 
where victorious, and Danton felt that the time had come 
for the adoption of a lenient policy at home and a pacific 
policy abroad. This attitude made him even more odious 
in the eyes of Robespierre, who thought that war was 
vital to the success of his policy of Public Safety. 

Robespierre put pressure on the Committee, and its 
spokesman, Barere, asked the Convention to proclaim its 
intention of carrying on the war to the bitter end. A de- 
cree was adopted, declaring that "the tyrants are still 
threatening us "5 and Robespierre proceeded to draw the 
conclusion that the tyrants were threatening only because 
they had " accomplices " inside the country. In a lengthy 
speech, which was much applauded, he said that the Con- 
vention must " stifle all these enemies, within and with- 

Danton felt that the blow was aimed at him as much 
as at Hebert. With his usual frankness he sought an in- 
terview with Robespierre and asked for an explanation. 



He asserted that there must be an end of the Terror, in 
which " the innocent were confounded with the guilty." 
Robespierre retorted: " Who told you, pray, that a single 
innocent person had been put to death? " Danton, ex- 
asperated by such a piece of abominable hypocrisy, 
abruptly left the room. 

Robespierre now craftily laid his plans for Danton's 
ruin, and began by assailing his chief supporters. Danton 
realized his danger, as he saw his friends swept away. At 
the first performance of " fipicharis et Neron," the two 
foes came face to face : Robespierre was in a box, Danton 
was seated in the orchestra. When an actor spoke the 
words " Death to the tyrant ! " Danton turned towards 
Robespierre and shook his fist at him. Scenes such as these 
hurried on the crisis. 

Robespierre first struck at Hebert. On the tenth of 
March, Hebert and six of his supporters were arrested 
in their homes and sent to prison. They were charged 
with being accomplices of Pitt and Cobourg, and secret 
supporters of a dictatorship which they intended to be- 
stow on Pache. 

Their trial began the 2i March and lasted five days. 
All were found guilty and sent to the scaffold. 

On the 14 March, when Herault, Danton's only sup- 
porter in the Committee, appeared at the Pavilion de 
Flore, he was curtly dismissed by Robespierre. He 
was immediately arrested, tried, and sentenced to the 

The turn of Danton came next. He had a strong 
following in the Convention j he might have made a 
good defence, and even turned the tables on his enemy. 
But his apathy seemed to grow greater from day to 

On the 30 March, the two Committees held a joint 
session. Saint-Just said that if they did not guillotine 
Danton, they \^ould all be guillotined themselves. One of 
the members of the Committee of Security sent a warning 
to Danton. Even then he might have gone to the Con- 
vention, and from the rostrum made one of those speeches 

[ 291 1 


with which he had so often thrilled the Assembly. But he 
sat at home over the fire and took no action. At six 
o'clock on the following morning he was arrested in his 
own house. Desmoulins and all his prominent adherents 
followed him to prison. 

In Paris the news was received with stupor. The Con- 
vention also was profoundly agitated. Some of Danton's 
friends tried to stir up their colleagues to revolt. Robes- 
pierre took a high tone: " We shall see this day whether 
the Convention will be able to destroy a pretended idol 
long since rotted away, or whether in its fall it will 
crush the Convention and the people of France! " The 
friends of Danton, thoroughly frightened, did not ven- 
ture to say anything more. A decree sent all the prisoners 
before the Tribunal. 

The trial began on the second of April. The night be- 
fore, Danton said at the Conciergerie: " It was at this 
time of the year that I had the Revolutionary Tribunal 
set up; I pray God and men to forgive me for it." 

The plea of Danton before the Tribunal was so elo- 
quent that Fouquier thought that all was lost. He sent a 
note to the Committee asking for a decree that would 
silence the defence. When this decree was read aloud in 
court, the public murmured. Danton tried to protest, but 
Herman closed the proceedings. The next day all the 
accused were condemned to death. Danton exclaimed: 
" Vile Robespierre ! The scaffold claims you, too. You 
will follow me! '* 

Within three months he followed him! 

It was glorious weather the day that Danton went to 
his death. An observer has told us how Danton's " huge 
round head fixed its proud gaze on the dull crowd." 
David, who had sketched Marie-Antoinette on her way to 
execution, sat on the terrace of a cafe sketching Danton 
and his fellow-prisoners. In his rage Danton shook his fist 
at his old friend and shouted, " Lackey! " It was late when 
the procession reached the scaffold, and darkness was 
falling on Paris when the last head fell into the basket. 

[ ^92 ] 


Robespierre was now master of France, and the Cabinets 
of Europe seemed to believe that he would put an end to 
the Revolution. But Robespierre was not dreaming of 
anything of the kind. The only thought of his mediocre 
brain and narrow soul was to protect himself against his 
enemies, " whom he discovered on every side." To de- 
stroy them he kept the guillotine constantly employed. 
The whole country appeared doomed to the scaflFold. Just 
before Thermidor every one seemed to be in prison. Gen- 
eral Hoche was there, and Kellermann, the victor of 
Valmyj Theresia Cabarrus, the mistress of Tallien, and 
Josephine de Beauharnaisj members of the three Revo- 
lutionary Assemblies, and men and women of the best 
blood in France, many of whom were destined to lie in 
that cemetery of the Madeleine which had already re- 
ceived the ashes of Louis and Marie- Antoinette, of Dan- 
ton and Charlotte Corday. 

For the moment Robespierre seemed to be supreme. 
The members of the two great Committees were under 
the yoke. Through his henchmen and his creatures he 
ruled the Commune and controlled the Tribunal. The 
Army of Paris was devoted to him, for it was commanded 
by that scoundrel Hanriot. The members of the Conven- 
tion still stood behind him, but murmurs had arisen, and 
he was soon to hear the muttering of the storm. 

The first mistake made by the dictator was an attack 
on Joseph Fouche, the president of the Jacobin club, whom 
he charged with being at the head of a conspiracy against 
him. Fouche realized that, if the tyrant himself did not 
fall, the time had come for himself and a whole group 
of his friends. Fouche was no Danton : underground plots 
were his forte. Here were a lot of terrified men, all 
trembling for their own heads: he brought all these 
hates and fears together and built up a strong opposition 
to the dictator. 

Joseph Fouche, the future Minister of Police, and 
Due d'Otranto, under the Empire, was the son of a 
merchant captain, and was born near Nantes the 19 Sep- 
tember 1754. His health was too delicate for him to fol- 



low the profession of his father, so after the completion 
of his education he devoted himself to teaching. He was 
a tutor in the military college at Vendome, and professor 
of mathematics in the famous Oratorian college at Juillyj 
he also took minor orders. In September 1792 he was 
elected to the Convention from Loire-Inferieure. He 
made no mark in that assembly, but gained a great repu- 
tation the following year by his vigor as a representative 
on mission. This led to his selection by the Committee 
of Public Safety as the principal coadjutor of Collot 
d'Herbois in punishing the city of Lyon after the insur- 
rection there was suppressed. The butchery was horrible: 
in all nearly two thousand victims perished on the guil- 
lotine, among them many priests and former nobles. 

After his return to Paris, this future millionaire took a 
prominent part in the Socialistic movement, which first 
brought him into conflict with Robespierre. He also 
favored the abolishment of the Christian worship, and the 
substitution of the cult of Reason. 

Robespierre foresaw his danger and his answer was 
swift. On the 10 June, Couthon brought forward a pro- 
posal intended to deliver the last of Robespierre's enemies 
into his hands. Prisoners were to have no more lawyers 
to defend them, and the juries were to sentence them in 
batches. This meant the handing over of the fate of 
every accused person to the Public Prosecutor, who was 
known to be ruled by Robespierre. Hitherto no repre- 
sentative of the people could be brought before the Tri- 
bunal without the authorization of the Convention: in 
future it was to he done on the mere order of the Com- 
mittees, This was a blow aimed at Fouche, Tallien, and 
Barrasj and many others also felt that they were 
threatened. This last measure met with almost unani- 
mous opposition in the Convention, but Robespierre, with 
his strange hypnotic power, terrorized his opponents, and 
within half an hour the law was passed. The following 
day the Convention revolted and repealed the decree, 
but aorain reenacted it upon the demand of the dictator. 

Armed with his new law, Robespierre began his opera- 

[ 294 ] 


tions at once. On the evening of the 1 1 June Robespierre 
attacked Fouche in the Jacobins. Fouche, who was no 
orator, made a poor defence, and left the hall 5 but he 
quietly began to plot his revenge. 

The seven weeks between the 23 Prairial (11 June) 
and the 9 Thermidor were horrible. It was nothing more 
nor less than a massacre: in the course of forty-nine days 
1376 heads fell in Paris, an average of nearly 200 a week. 
" Everybody lived under the watchful eye of a merciless 
police," says Madelin. " Fear was on every sidej drawing- 
rooms were empty j wine shops were deserted j the very 
courtesans ceased to go to the Palais-Royal, where virtue 
now reigned supreme. . . . The Convention was well- 
nigh deserted 3 the deputies had given up sleeping at 

Opposition was crushed, but there were not more than 
half a dozen men in all upon whom Robespierre could 
rely: Saint- Just, Le Bas, and Couthon, his three favorite 
henchmen, and his agents, Fleuriot the Mayor, Herman, 
the Minister of the Interior, and Fouquier, the Public 

The position of Robespierre was very much weakened 
by the fact that the country was no longer in danger and 
that the excuse for the Terror had passed away. The vic- 
tory of Fleurus, on the 26 June, had reassured the mind 
of France J a plan for the invasion of Italy was being pre- 
pared: on every side Europe was falling back. The Con- 
vention was still under the control of the Committee of 
Public Safety, and Robespierre's enemies at last perceived 
that in order to win they must disrupt the Committee 
itself, and attack the dictatorship from within. 

The Committee was now hostile to Robespierre. With 
the exception of his faithful adherent Le Bas, and David, 
who could not be relied upon, all the members detested 
"the tyrant." Realizing the increasing hostility, Robes- 
pierre had ceased to attend the meetings. On the 28 June 
he recalled Saint-Just, who was then on a mission with 
the armies. He had the names of Fouche and several 
others struck off the list of the Jacobin Clubj but Fouche 

[ 29s ] 


only carried on his underground campaign more vigor- 
ously than ever. Heads were at stake everywhere, and 
there was no time to lose: the victory would probably be- 
long to the party which struck the first blow. It was quite 
evident that it was to be a fight to the finish, and both 
sides were resolved to strike at the first possible moment. 

A rising in Paris in support of Robespierre was being 
prepared for the lO Thermidor (28 July), and the dicta- 
tor, under pressure from Saint-Just, consented to prepare 
the way by the delivery of a great speech in the Conven- 
tion on the eighth. In the meantime, Fouche had not re- 
laxed his efforts, and he was ably assisted by Tallien. 
According to a well-authenticated story, Theresia had sent 
him word from her prison that she was about to die, 
" thanks to his arrant cowardice." 

Jean-Lambert Tallien, who was born at Paris in 1769, 
was barely four and twenty when he was sent with Isa- 
beau, a former Oratorian, to exercise all the rigors of 
the Terror in the department of the Gironde. He had 
begun life as a lawyer's clerk, and had been conspicuous 
at Paris throughout the Revolution. His activities on the 
10 August secured his election as secretary of the Com- 
mune, and finally as deputy to the Convention. But with 
all his bluster, and his ferocious speeches, he was by 
nature soft-hearted, and ordered but few executions. Dur- 
ing his reign at Bordeaux only 123 individuals lost their 
lives on the guillotine. This mildness has been generally 
attributed to the romantic influence exercised over him by 
Theresia Fontenoy, the most beautiful woman of her 
time. She was the daughter of Francis Cabarrus, a famous 
banker and finance minister of Spain. In 1788, when only 
fourteen years old, she was married to the elderly Comte 
de Fontenoy, a councillor of the Parlement of Bordeaux. 
During the early days of the Revolution her wit and 
beauty made her a favorite in the salons of Paris. Later 
she attempted with her husband to escape to her father in 
Spain, but they were arrested at Bordeaux as suspects, and 
it was there that she first met Tallien. He fell in love 
with her, and released her husband on condition that he 



should apply for a divorce. She then became at first 
the mistress and later the wife of the proconsul. Many 
persons, including Madame de La Tour du Pin, owed 
their lives to her intercession. In her " Recollections," the 
Marquise thus describes Theresia: 

" Madame de Fontenoy was then not more. than twenty 
years of age. A more beautiful human being had never 
issued from the hands of the Creator. All her features 
bore the imprint of the most regular and artistic perfec- 
tion. Her hair, black as ebony, seemed made of the finest 
silk, and her brilliant complexion was as clear as ivory. 
An enchanting smile displayed the most admirable teeth. 
Her tall form recalled that of Diane Chasseresse. The 
least movement revealed an incomparable grace, while 
her voice, which was harmonious and slightly marked by 
a foreign accent, exercised a charm which no words can 

The clemency of Tallien was by no means pleasing to 
the Committee, and to defend himself he returned to 
Paris in March 1794, whither he was followed by 
Theresia, who was immediately imprisoned in La Force 
as a suspect. 

When Robespierre slowly ascended the steps of the 
rostrum, on the 8 Thermidor, the excitement in the Con- 
vention was intense. His speech, which had been carefully 
prepared, has been preserved to us. Feeling himself sure 
of the support of the deputies, he hit at all his enemies 
on every side. He made a bitter criticism of the financial 
situation, of the management of the war, and of the Ter- 
ror itselJF. The Convention, as if in a stupor, listened in 
dead silence. The attacks on Cambon and his finances, on 
Carnot and his armies, and on the two Committees, 
filled his hearers with bewilderment and alarm. But the 
persons whom he had assailed did not intend, like Danton, 
to be overthrown without a struggle. Cambon flew to the 
rostrum, and fiercely attacked the dictator: " One man 
alone paralyzes the will of the Convention: that man is 
Robespierre! " The excitement continued to increase. It 
was stated that a list of proscribed persons had already 



been made out, and the Convention demanded to know 
the names. Robespierre, who was intimidated, refused to 
mention any names. The sitting closed at five o'clock: 
" Robespierre had lost the first game of the rubber." 

The night was beautiful after a sweltering day, and 
Robespierre went for a walk in the Champs- filysees. Then 
he betook himself to the Club where he received a great 

There are many descriptions of the scene of disorder 
and dismay presented that night at the meeting of the 
Committee. At eleven o'clock Collot, in wild excitement, 
hurried in from the Jacobin Club. The members were 
gathered around the celebrated "green table," and 
through the open door Saint-Just was to be seen writing 
in the adjoining room. In reply to an inquiry from Collot, 
he answered boldly that he was drawing up their accusa- 
tion. At five o'clock in the morning, he coolly took his 
leave, as full of confidence as his leader, and went for a 
gallop in the Bois de Boulogne. 

The day was hot and close: by noon the temperature 
had risen to 96 degrees Fahrenheit. The Convention met 
in a state of great excitement. Negotiations between the 
different parties had been going on all night. The gal- 
leries were full of the adherents of Robespierre: they 
greeted his arrival with wild applause. He was soon 
joined by Saint-Just, who at once left him to mount the 
rostrum. But the friend of the dictator was only allowed 
time to pronounce two sentences before he was rudely 
interrupted by Tallien and pushed from his place. 
Billaud then took possession of the rostrum and denounced 
the scene at the Jacobin Club on the preceding night. 
Le Bas tried in vain to speak: the enemies of Robespierre 
had sworn to stifle the voices of all his friends. Billaud 
continued his attacks, and the tumult was tremendous. 
Collot, who was presiding over the sitting, rang his bell 

Robespierre himself made a rush to the rostrum, but 
a mighty shout drove him back to his seat. " Down with 
the tyrant! " was the cry. Tallien waved a dagger in his 

[ 298 ] 


hand and declared that he himself would pierce the breast 
of the dictator if the Convention had not the courage to 
decree his accusation. The deputies were not yet brave 
enough to strike at Robespierre himself, but they ordered 
the arrest of three of his principal henchmen, Boulanger, 
Hanriot and Dumas. Once again Robespierre tried to 
speak and once more he was howled down. Finally, with 
a desperate effort, he succeeded in making himself heard: 
" For the last time, will you give me leave to speak. 
President of assassins! ^^ The tyrant had insulted the 
Convention: no other pretext was necessary for his arrest. 
Then things moved swiftly. A decree was voted for the 
arrest of Robespierre and his brother. Saint- Just, Le Bas, 
and Couthon: a moment later the gendarmes were in the 
hall and the five men were prisoners. At five o'clock the 
exhausted Assembly, which had been sitting since seven 
o'clock in the morning, finally adjourned. 

The Convention thought that the battle was won, but 
it was mistaken. By seven o'clock the wheel of fortune 
had taken a last turn and Robespierre was once more on 
top. When Fleuriot, the mayor, heard the news from the 
Convention, he had the gates to the city closed and the 
tocsin rung; he summoned the Council-General of the 
Commune, and forbade any jailer to accept the custody of 
the victims. The mob was soon gathered on the Place de 
Greve, but there was no military leader to direct them. 
Un .fortunately for Robespierre, Hanriot had been break- 
fasting freely in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, and was 
quite drunk. Two more of Robespierre's followers, Payan, 
the National Agent, and Dumas, the president of the 
Tribunal, had been arrested and safely confined. 

In the meantime, the jailers having absolutely re- 
fused to receive the prisoners, the Mayor had invited the 
" martyrs " to come to the Hotel-de-Ville. Soon there 
were gathered there, Robespierre and his brother Au- 
gustin, Saint-Just and Le Bas, to be joined later by 

While these events were happening at the Hotel-de- 
Ville, the Committees of Public Safety and of General 

[ 299 ] 


Security, and the Convention, were in a state of terror, 
believing that all was lost. In this emergency, the Con- 
vention appealed to Barras, and under his leadership a 
delegation of six deputies was directed to proceed to the 
Hotel-de-Ville and enforce the decree of the Convention. 
The fact that Robespierre was not a man of action be- 
came very apparent at this crisis: he dared not adopt any 
definite course. While he hesitated, the emissaries of the 
Convention were hurrying from one Section to another, 
and rallying them all to its cause. While a disorganized 
mob hung helplessly around the Hotel-de-Ville, the Sec- 
tions sent their battalions to the Tuileries, and the Con- 
vention soon had a little army of its own. Barras took 
command, and led his troops along the quays to the 
Place de Greve. 

Towards midnight, the mob at the Hotel-de-Ville 
heard that the Sections were going over to the Conven- 
tion, and was much disheartened. The rain, which had 
been threatening ever since midday, began to fall in tor- 
rents. This was an excuse for the crowd to take its de- 
parture, and by one o'clock the Place was well-nigh 

At last, when it was too late, Robespierre made up his 
mind to sign the call to arms. The paper is still preserved 
in the National Archives. At the foot we see the begin- 
ning of a signature, the first two letters, Ro . . . The 
bloodstained paper tells the rest of the story. At this 
moment the gendarmes from the Convention broke into 
the room, and some one fired a shot: the bullet struck 
Robespierre and fractured his jaw. It is not known posi- 
tively whether he tried to commit suicide, or was 
wounded by the gendarme Meda, but it is highly prob- 
able that he shot himself. 

A terrible scene followed: Le Bas blew out his brains j 
Robespierre's brother Augustin, in trying to escape, fell 
from the cornice and was shattered in every limbj Saint- 
Just alone allowed himself to be arrested quietly. Couthon 
was found hiding under a table, and taken into custody. 

Robespierre was conveyed to the Convention, which re- 




fused to admit him to its presence. Covered with blood, 
he was thrown on a table in the room used by the Com- 
mittee of Public Safety. A few hours later all the pris- 
oners were "removed to the Conciergerie. 

The following day the " outlaws " were brought be- 
fore the Tribunal, not for trial, but for identification 
only: their fate was already sealed. Fouquier, who was 
present, was livid with fear: he knew that his time had 

At four o'clock in the afternoon the twenty-two out- 
laws climbed into four tumbrils. From the Conciergerie 
the procession followed the usual course through the 
crowded Rue Saint-Honore. The mob was in high spirits; 
the sky had cleared after the storm, and there was life 
in the air. 

At seven o'clock the scaffold was reached. One after 
another, the heads fell under the axe. Robespierre was the 
twentieth prisoner to mount the scaflFold; Fleuriot, the 
mayor, came last of all. A mighty cry of joy went up 
from the one hundred thousand beings massed in the 
square. The party leaders looked upon the death of 
Robespierre and his associates merely as a political in- 
cident, but the people regarded the matter very differ- 
ently. Robespierre had been the incarnation of the Terror, 
and, in the view of many, of the Revolution itself. There- 
fore, his downfall must mean the end of the Terror, and 
perhaps of the Revolution also. It was thus an event of 
tremendous importance. A new phase was about to open 
in the history of the Revolution. 

[ 3PI ] 


1 794-1 795 


The Siege of Toulon — Distinguished Services of Bonaparte — The 
Republican Armies — The Great Committee of Public Safety 
— The Military Committee — Carnot and Prieur — Representa- 
tives on Mission — The Northern Army — Jourdan — Armies 
of the Moselle and the Rhine — Pichegru — Hoche — Saint- 
Just and Le Bas — Army of the Alps — Loss of Corsica — The 
Republican Generals — Campaign of 1794 — Operations of the 
Northern Army — Battle of Fleurus — Belgium Reconquered — 
Holland Overrun — Peace with Tuscany, Prussia, Holland and 
Spain — French Reverses on the Rhine — Armistice with Austria 

AT the close of the year 1793, the Allies had re- 
covered possession of Belgium, and of Mayence 
on the Rhine J in the Alps, on the Riviera, and 
along the Spanish frontier there was not much change 
in the military situation. The only decided French ad- 
vantage was the recapture of Toulon, on which occasion 
Napoleon Bonaparte, then a major of artillery, made his 
first appearance on the scene of History. 

In August, the inhabitants of the city had hoisted the 
white flag of the Bourbons, and asked Lord Hood, the 
English admiral commanding in the Mediterranean, to 
come to their assistance. He at once accepted the invita- 
tion, and entered the port with his vessels, and the allied 
Spanish fleet with which he was cruising. Hood brought 
three regiments from Gibraltar, one of them under the 
command of Colonel, afterwards General Sir, John 
Moore J and the Spanish admiral, Langara, brought 3000 
men from Barcelona. With these forces the Allies de- 
fended the city for over four months. 

At that time Toulon was considered one of the strong- 



est fortresses in the world, and the news of its occupation 
by the English was received with great indignation by the 
Convention and the Committee of Public Safety. Imme- 
diate steps were taken to recapture the city. Barras and his 
colleagues ordered up the troops of Carteaux, about 3300 
men, who had just taken Marseille, and also the greater 
part of the Army of Italy from the frontier. Carteaux 
was soon superseded in command by Dugommier. The 
French officer in charge of the artillery was wounded in 
an early skirmish, and was succeeded on the 18 Septem- 
ber by Captain Bonaparte of the Fourth Regiment, who 
was appointed to be chef de bataillony or major, com- 
manding the siege artillery in chief. 

The arrival of the troops from the Army of Italy 
brought up the numbers of the besieging army to 8000 
men, a force quite inadequate to retake the town. In this 
dilemma it was Bonaparte who pointed out that the 
harbor was commanded by a promontory extending out 
between the two roadsteads, and that the allied fleets 
would be forced to retire as soon as this point was in the 
possession of the French. On the 18 December, after a 
bombardment of three days, the English works on the 
point were taken by assault. Bonaparte distinguished him- 
self by his bravery, and received a severe bayonet thrust 
in the leg, the only wound of any consequence in his long 
military career. The enemy immediately evacuated the 
town, after blowing up the magazines and setting fire 
to the French vessels in the harbor, and at seven o'clock 
on the morning of the 19 December the Republicans 
entered the city. As a reward for his services during the 
siege Bonaparte was immediately promoted to be general 
of brigade, and in January was made Inspector of Coasts, 
with headquarters at Nice. 

Before speaking of the justly celebrated triumphs of 
the French soldiers during the two following years, it 
may be well to consider how the armies were composed, 
organized, and led to victory. 

As already stated, the military policy of the Constituent 



Assembly had resulted in the complete disorganization of 
the old Royal army, and during the summer of 1792 the 
French troops were everywhere defeated. These reverses 
were followed by the overthrow of the throne, the procla- 
mation of the Republic, and the victory of Valmy. Then 
came the conquest of Belgium, and the occupation of 
Mayence, Savoie and Nice, which to the patriotic orators 
was conclusive proof that the untrained French levies 
were superior to the mercenaries of the kings. But states- 
men realized that the easy victories of the French gen- 
erals were due mainly to the carelessness and over-con- 
fidence of their foes, and that reverses must be expected 
when the Allies began to exert their full strength. The 
defeats of the spring and summer of 1793 showed that 
this view was correct. It has already been pointed out 
that these defeats led to the organization of the great 
Committee of Public Safety. But the two famous victories 
of Hondschoote and Wattignies, which followed, did 
not definitely turn the tide of victory in favor of France, 
though they led the way to it. To the constructive powers 
of the great Committee were due the measures which 
transformed the patriotic mob that followed Dumouriez, 
Custine and Montesquiou, into the splendid armies of 
Pichegru, Moreau and Bonaparte. 

No change was made by the Legislative Assembly in 
the military system devised by the Constituent Assembly. 
Carnot and his able associates on the military committee 
had no power to act except in matters of detail. The con- 
duct of the war on the frontiers was left entirely to the 
commanding officers, under the general supervision of 
the War Office at Paris. 

All this was altered by the Convention. A Military 
Committee was appointed; and the Committee of Public 
Safety was created, which directed the armies in the field 
through the deputies on mission. In April 1793, Bouchotte 
was appointed Minister of War and retained his portfolio 
until the abolition of all the ministries a year later. He 
was an ex-officer of the army, and proved himself an able 

[ 304 ] 


Many of the members of the Military Committee be- 
came prominent at a later date: Barras, Carnot and Le 
Tourneur were Directors 5 Milhaud was a famous general 
under Napoleon 5 and Dubois and Pontecoulant became 
senators of the Empire. 

As always happens when responsibility is divided, the 
dual administration of the War Office and the Military 
Committee was not a success, and supreme power was 
finally granted to the Committee of Public Safety, which 
directed all military operations through representatives 
on mission. Most of the powers of the great Committee, 
however, were exercised by two engineer officers of the 
old Royal army: Carnot, who directed the operations of 
the armies in the field, and well deserved his title of 
"organizer of victory "j and Prieur of the Cote-d'Or, 
who looked after the supply of war materiel. They were 
ably assisted by the Topographical Committee, in whose 
office Napoleon himself was employed at a later date. 

The representatives on mission with the armies had to 
bear great responsibilities, and it is a wonder that so many 
men should have been found to do the work so well. Most 
of them were lawyers, and only a few were officers of 
the old army. The great services rendered by Merlin of 
Thionville and Reubell at Mayence have already been 
mentioned J and it is impossible to give here a list of 
all the famous deputies who acted in this capacity. 

By far the largest and best equipped body of troops 
was the Northern Army, which had defeated the English 
and Austrians in October 1793, and driven them across 
the frontier. This was under the command of Jourdan, 
the future marshal of the Empire. 

Jean-Baptiste Jourdan was the son of a surgeon, and 
was born at Limoges in 1762. After the death of his 
father he was sent to Lyon, where his uncle, a silk mer- 
chant, tried to bring him up in his business. But the boy 
did not like commerce, and in 1778 he ran away and en- 
listed in the regiment of Auxerre. His regiment was at 
once ordered to America, and he served throughout the 
Revolutionary War. On his return he left the army, and 

I 505] 


set up a draper's shop in his native city. At the commence- 
ment of the Revolution he was elected a lieutenant in 
the National Guard, and in 1792 became colonel of a 
volunteer battalion. He distinguished himself in the 
Belgian campaigns, and especially at Jemmapes. In May 
1793 he was made general of brigade, and two months 
later was promoted to general of division. In September, 
Carnot gave him the command of the Northern Army, 
with which he won the victory of Wattignies, and drove 
the Austrians out of France. But he refused to advance 
into Belgium while the enemy held the great fortresses 
of Conde and Valenciennes, and in January 1794 was 
superseded by Pichegru. 

Next to the Northern Army, upon the eastern frontier, 
were the armies of the Moselle and of the Rhine, which 
were under separate commands in the autumn of 1793, 
but were soon to be amalgamated. Early in August, Alex- 
andre de Beauharnais, the husband of Josephine, had been 
relieved of the command of the Army of the Rhine for 
not having made greater efforts to save Mayence. After 
two other generals had proved incompetent, the army 
was finally put under the command of Pichegru. 

Charles Pichegru was born in the Jura in 1761, and 
was the son of a laborer. He was educated at the college 
of Arbois, his native place, and was later an instructor 
at the military school of Brienne during the time that 
Napoleon was a pupil there. In 1783 he enlisted in the 
First Regiment of Artillery, in which he rose to the 
highest rank possible for a non-commissioned oflicer. 
After the beginning of the Revolution he was elected 
lieutenant-colonel of a battalion of volunteers, and was 
rapidly promoted, becoming general of division in Octo- 
ber 1793. 

At this same time the Army of the Moselle was com- 
manded by a young general named Lazare Hoche, who 
was perhaps the most brilliant and the most promising of 
all the Republican officers. He was born at Montreuil in 
1768, of very poor parents. At the age of seventeen he 
enlisted in the Gardes Frangaises, and soon received the 



rank of sergeant. He won great distinction in the cam- 
paigns of 1792 and 1793. In September 1793 he became 
general of brigade, and six weeks later he was appointed 
to the command of the Army of the Moselle. 

The loss of Mayence had been followed by a series of 
disasters. The Austrians, under Marshal Wurmser, in- 
vaded Alsace, and carried the famous lines of Wissem- 
bourg. The news of this reverse caused a profound sen- 
sation at Paris, and the Committee of Public Safety sent 
one of its members, Saint-Just, to the scene of the disaster, 
with supreme power. Accompanied by a young deputy 
named Philippe Le Bas, Saint-Just reached Strasbourg on 
the 24 October, and by his vigor soon changed the aspect 
of affairs. Pichegru was appointed commander-in-chief, 
and discipline was soon restored in the army. A com- 
bined forward movement of the armies of Hoche and of 
Pichegru was signalized by two victories the middle of 
November. The latter part of December, Hoche, who was 
now in supreme command of the two armies, won a great 
victory at Geisberg, and finally drove the invaders out of 

The next army in geographical order was that of the 
Alps, which was the weakest of all. After the conquest 
of Savoie, Kellermann had succeeded to the command. 
The army was too weak to attempt an invasion of Italy, 
and confined its efforts to guarding the frontier. 

After the evacuation of Toulon in December 1793, 
Admiral Hood proceeded to Corsica. In June of that year, 
the island, which had been organized as a French depart- 
ment, had renounced its allegiance, and the Corsican 
Republic had been proclaimed with Paoli as president. 
Within a week the French garrisons were driven from 
every town except Bastia and Calvi. These two places were 
bravely defended by the French, but were eventually 
taken by storm by the British sailors under Captain 
Horatio Nelson, who lost an eye at Calvi. The sover- 
eignty of the island remained in the hands of the British 
until the victories of Napoleon Bonaparte in Italy in 1796 
made it necessary for them to withdraw. 

[ 307 ] 


The first generals of the Republic had been mainly 
officers of the old Royal army, like Custine and Beau- 
harnais, but distrust of commanders of noble birth had 
soon led to their replacement by men risen from the ranks, 
such as Jourdan, Hoche and Pichegru. It was during 
these early campaigns of the Republic that the most 
famous generals of the Empire made their reputation 
Vandamme and Macdonald, in the army of the North, 
Ney, Davout and Bernadotte in that of the Ardennes 
Soult, Lefebvre and Bessieres in that of the Moselle 
Oudinot and Saint-Cyr in that of the Rhine j Augereau, 
Perignon, Victor and Moncey in the two armies of the 
Pyrenees J and Massena, Suchet, Joubert, Serurier, and 
Bonaparte in the Army of Italy. 

At the opening of the year 1794, the military situation 
remained practically the same as during the last month 
of the year before. The levee en masse^ decreed in August 
1793, had enabled Carnot to organize a great force of 
500,000 men, and place it in position on the frontiers. The 
Northern Army, of three corps, under Pichegru, was to 
reconquer the Netherlands. The Army of the Moselle and 
the Rhine was to operate against Mayence. 

The Northern Army, of 200,000 men, covered the 
frontier from Dunkerque and Lille to Maubeuge and 
Mezieres. The allied army of 155,000 men was posted 
as follows: before Maubeuge stood Kaunitz with 25,000 
Austriansj at Mons, Cobourg with 100,000 Prussians j and 
on the Scheldt, Clerfayt with 30,000 Austrians. 

Pichegru had orders to make a concentric advance on 
Brussels from Dunkerque, Cambrai and Mezieres. Be- 
tween the 10 May and the 12 June the French army 
crossed the Sambre no less than five times, and was as 
often forced to retreat across the river. Finally, on the 1 8 
June, Jourdan, who had been detached with 50,000 men 
from the Army of the Moselle, again crossed the Sambre, 
laid siege once more to Charleroi, and took up a semi- 
circular position about twenty miles long from the Sambre 
to Fleurus. On the 25 June Charleroi surrendered, and 
the same evening Cobourg arrived from Tournai with 



ICX),CXD0 men. On the following day was fought the battle 
of Fleurus, which lasted from five o'clock in the morning 
to seven o'clock at night, and resulted in the loss of 6000 
French and 10,000 of the enemy. During the day, Co- 
bourg learned of the fall of Charleroi, so he ordered a 
retreat to Brussels. 

By a decree of the 29 June, the victorious corps of the 
armies of the North, the Ardennes and the Moselle, were 
given the name of the Army of the Sambre-et-Marne. 
Pichegru, having taken Ostende on the first of July, 
arrived before Brussels, a little later than Jourdan, on 
the ninth, and the following day entered the city as 

Pichegru then drove back the demoralized Anglo- 
Dutch army to the north, and Jourdan pursued the 
Austrians to the east: on the 27 July, the former entered 
Antwerp, and the latter, Liege. Belgium was again con- 
quered, and the four fortresses occupied by the enemy in 
France were at once evacuated. 

About the middle of September the French again re- 
sumed hostilities. Jourdan advanced against Clerfayt, and 
in a series of engagements forced him to fall back to 
Cologne and Bonn on the Rhine. At the same time Piche- 
gru turned against the Duke of York and drove him back 
across the Meusej two months later, the Duke threw up 
his command and returned to England. 

By the close of the year the French were once more 
in possession of the Austrian Netherlands, and had also 
penetrated into Holland. The operations on the Rhine, 
which were of minor importance, had again taken them 
up to the walls of Mayence. 

A severe winter, frozen rivers, and dissensions among 
the Allies, all favored the French operations at the be- 
ginning of 1795. Pichegru advanced slowly: his army 
crossed the lower Meuse on the ice the 27 December, the 
Waal the 8 January, and the Lek a week later. The beaten 
and demoralized British troops retired into Hanover. 
Holland gave up the contest, and her troops abandoned 
all resistance. Between the middle of January and the 



middle of February the French took possession of the 
entire country. Pichegru proclaimed the new Batavian 
Republic. These victories made a great impression on 
France and on all Europe. 

The first break in the ranks of the Powers allied against 
France came in November 1794, when the Grand Duke 
of Tuscany, the brother of the Emperor, sent an envoy to 
Paris to treat with the Republic. The peace was signed 
and ratified in February 1795, and Tuscany became 

Prussia next abandoned the coalition, in. order to obtain 
a free hand against Poland. By the Treaty of Bale, 
signed on the 5 April 1795, Prussia agreed to evacuate 
the left bank of the Rhine. Although less profitable to 
France than to Prussia, the peace was nevertheless of 
importance. Hostilities were to cease in all the territory 
occupied, including Holland. The King of Prussia 
weakened the coalition by his withdrawal from itj he 
abandoned his brother-in-law, the Stadtholderj he 
agreed to the extension of the French frontier to the 
Rhine 5 in short, he was the first formally to recognize 
the great victories of the Republic. 

By a treaty signed the 16 May, and ratified ten days 
later by the States-General and the Convention, the Re- 
public of the United Provinces was recognized by the 
French Republic as a free and independent power. Hol- 
land ceded to France the Flandre-Hollandaise, and 
agreed to pay an indemnity of one hundred million 
florins. By a secret clause of the treaty Holland also 
agreed to assume the expense of the French army of 
occupation, and to send to Paris numerous treasures of 

The next peace to be signed was that with Spain, on 
the 4 September 1795. The negotiations, which were 
long and difiicult, had covered a period of many months. 
Of the many subjects discussed, but few appeared in the 
final treaty. France agreed to evacuate the territory occu- 
pied in Spain, and received Saint-Domingue j also by a 
secret clause the Republic undertook to deliver Madame 



Royale up to Austria, if an exchange could not be ar- 
ranged. For his services at this time, Godoy, the Queen's 
lover, was rewarded by the King with the title of " Prince 
of Peace." 

But the diminished coalition still remained formidable. 
Austria was not yet willing to give up the fight. Two 
powerful armies, commanded by Wurmser and Clerfayt, 
were opposed to the armies of Sambre-et-Meuse and 
Rhin-et-Moselle under Jourdan and Pichegru. For the 
first time since the levee en masse the French were in- 
ferior in numbers. On the 6 September Jourdan crossed 
the Rhine opposite Dusseldorf , and marched up the river, 
towards Mayence. But, owing to the delay of Pichegru, 
the two armies did not cooperate, and Wurmser con- 
tained Pichegru, while Clerfayt forced Jourdan to re- 
treat to the left bank of the river. Taking the offensive, 
Clerfayt then passed the Rhine, raised the siege of May- 
ence, and placed his forces like a wedge between the two 
French armies. 

Wurmser now laid siege to Mannheim, which sur- 
rendered in November, with its garrison of io,000 men. 
Only then did he throw his main body across the river, 
and advance against Pichegru at Landau. Without doubt, 
Pichegru was already negotiating with the Prince de 
Conde, and his inaction at Mannheim was not due only to 
military incapacity. However that may be, the French 
offensive had failed through his fault, and a new inva- 
sion was threatened. But an armistice on the first of Janu- 
ary 1796 brought the operations to a close. 

f 3" ] 




The Reaction after Thermidor — Joy of the Prisoners — Tallien and 
Theresia — The Jacobin Club Closed — End of the Revolution- 
ary Tribunal — The Stage Set for Bonaparte — Constitution of 
the Year Three — The Decree of Two-Thirds — Public Dis- 
content — Death of the Dauphin — "The Riddle of the 
Temple " — Vote on the Constitution — Revolt of the Sections 
— Preparations for Attack — Measures of Defence — The 
Thirteenth Vendemiaire — Bonaparte Appears on the Scene — 
End of the Convention — Its Great Work 

ON the morning of the 10 Thermidor, when the 
deputies issued from the hall of the Convention 
in the Tuileries, they were astonished at the 
cheers with which they were greeted. When Barras and 
Tallien appeared, there were no bounds to the public 
enthusiasm. With stupefaction they learned that they had 
put an end to the Terror! This had been far from their 
thoughts when they struck down Robespierre, but they 
were quick to take advantage of this reaction in public 

The joy of the populace, however, was nothing in 
comparison with the delight of the reprieved prisoners 
who were hopelessly awaiting death. The daily roll-call 
had ceased: it was never to be heard again. The dreaded 
Tribunal was busy now only with the trial of the instru- 
ments of the Terror. While the tumbrils conveyed to the 
scaffold Fouquier and the judges and jurymen, the former 
captives were daily set free. Among those to issue from 
prison was Josephine, who had been made a widow only 
a few days before, by the execution of Alexandre de Beau- 
harnais, and who was expecting at every moment to fol- 
low him to the guillotine. 



At the same time a hundred thousand suspects issued 
from their hiding-places. No words can express their joy: 
"It was as if they had risen from the tomb, or been born 
into life again." 

The news of Thermidor quickly spread over the entire 
world. In far-away America, Talleyrand, and Monsieur 
and Madame de La Tour du Pin, were dining with Gen- 
eral Schuyler at Albany, when the Paris papers brought 
the report, and they immediately made their arrangements 
to return to France. 

At Paris, some members of the Mountain tried, but in 
vain, to fight against the reaction. There is no doubt as to 
the spontaneity and practical unanimity of this change 
in public feeling, and the Convention could only follow 
the current. 

On the very crest of the popular wave, rode Tallienj 
and the beautiful and graceful Theresia was already, 
though covertly, the mistress of the city in which she was 
to reign supreme. The former Marquise de Fontenoy, the 
future Princesse de Chimay, for the moment was content 
to play the role of the Citoyenne Tallien. After the Reign 
of Terror, and the dictatorship of Robespierre, the 
woman-hater, the new regime found its incarnation in 
this fascinating and seductive woman of easy morals! 
Although she was generally supposed to be common prop- 
erty, Tallien was proud of her. He even sounded her 
praises from the rostrum of the Convention: "In the 
presence of our colleagues, in the presence of the people, 
I declare this woman to be my wife! " And Theresia, 
sitting smiling in the gallery, was hailed with loud cheers 
of " Notre dame de Thermidor! " " Notre dame de 
Secours! " 

On the 7 Fructidor (24 August) the Revolutionary 
Committees were abolished, and from that time on the 
campaign grew hotter and hotter. The Jacobins tried to 
keep up their spirits by bitter attacks upon the policy of 
reaction. In a speech to his fellow-members on the 13 
Brumaire, Billaud shouted : " The sleeping lion is not 
dead, and when he awakes he will exterminate his foes! " 



" Poor lion! " says Madelin, " they were to make him a 
laughing-stock before they destroyed him." The " haunt 
of the Jacobins" was taken by storm, the men driven 
out, and the women fustigated. To such a low estate had 
fallen the proud Jacobins, before whom all France had 
trembled but three short months before ! The Convention 
realized, on this, that they no longer had cause to fear 
" the lion's " teeth and claws, and decided to dispatch 
him at once. A decree for the closing of the club was 
passed: the doors were locked, and the keys brought to 
the Convention. " The infernal Society," whose strength 
had always lain in the cowardice of its victims, now num- 
bered less than fifty deputies, " a minority doomed to the 
silence and humiliations it had once imposed on its 

The survivors of the Girondins were recalled, and the 
refractory priests and the emigres were allowed to re- 
turn. La Vendee, already half subdued, was offered an 
amnesty. During a period of more than six months, one 
measure of reaction followed another j but it is impos- 
sible here to go into all the details. A decree under date 
of the 31 May 1795 put an end to the Revolutionary 
Tribunal. Another decree, on the 12 June, forbade the 
official employment of the word " revolutionary," and the 
committees which still existed resumed tiieir former names 
of committees of surveillance. Thus disappeared the last 
vestiges of the revolutionary government, before the Con- 
vention had given to the Republic its new constitution. 
Finally, on the 24 June, the Convention ordered the de- 
molition of the building occupied by the defunct Jacobin 
Club, in the Rue Saint-Honore, for the erection of a 

The stage was now set for the appearance of a new 
dictator. A thousand interests opposed the restoration of 
the Monarchy, but all were agreed in their readiness to 
accept a new ruler who would conserve the benefits of 
the Revolution. A year before, Catherine the Second of 
Russia had written: "If France emerges from all this, 
she will be as obedient as any lamb; but what she needs 



is a man of superior intellect, skilful, courageous, above 
all his contemporaries, and perhaps even his century. Has 
that man been born into the world? " 

He had been born into the world, and he was about 
to appear on the scene! 

Since the month of December 1794, a commission, often 
changed, and frequently reconstituted, had been working 
on a new constitution. There had been some idea of ask- 
ing Sieyes, " the first of political architects," to draw it 
up. It was said that, if two constitutions had already been 
found unsatisfactory, it was because the oracle had not 
been consulted. But " mysterious, haughty, dogmatic, 
vague," he refused once more " to come down from his 
Sinai," and take his seat on the commission. The com- 
mission was therefore obliged to work out its task without 
the help of the great man. 

It would be interesting to follow the work of the com- 
mission, but we must be content to record that the idea 
of an executive government was rejected, because, as 
Louvet remarked, " the people might possibly have 
elected a Bourbon." The executive power was therefore to 
be confided to five " Directors," to be elected by the cham- 
bers. There were to be two of these chambers: the Council 
of the Ancients, to number 250, and the Council of Five- 
Hundred, following the bicameral arrangement of the 
American government. 

In electing the Directory, the Cinq-Cents were to select 
fifty names, and out of these the Anciens were to choose 
the five chief magistrates. One member of the Directory 
was to retire every year, and a successor to be elected. 
The power of the executive was very limited: the Direc- 
tors had no vetoj they could not appomt official function- 
aries; and they were deprived of the management of the 
finances. The balance of power was so carefully arranged 
that both the executive and the legislative functions were 
paralyzed. Out of this Constitution, for which Mignet 
expresses great admiration, were to be born no less than 
four coups d'etat! 

Conscious of its unpopularity, and wishing to prolong 


its existence, the Convention now adopted the outrageous 
" Decree of Two-Thirds," which provided that '' two- 
thirds of the deputies of the new Corps Legislatif must 
be chosen among the outgoing members of the Assembly." 

The announcement of this decree was received in Paris 
by a general outburst of rage. The Lepeletier section was 
the most inflamed. It met in a church at the end of the 
Rue Vivienne, on the present site of the Bourse. Many 
different events had served to crystallize the general feel- 
ing of discontent: the menacing treason of Pichegru; the 
threats of Condej new uprisings in the Vendee and Nor- 
mandiej the surreptitious return of many emigres, who 
had been summoned to sustain royalist movements which 
were being prepared; the secret negotiations for peace 
with Prussia and Spain; and the rumors that certain 
prominent Conventionnels, like Tallien and Cambaceres, 
were involved in an intrigue for the return of the 

The deputy most seriously compromised seems to have 
been Tallien. During the course of the first negotiations 
with Spain, through the medium of his father-in-law 
Cabarrus, he had suggested the idea of erecting Navarre 
into a sovereignty for the Dauphin. But the young prince 
died in the Temple on the 8 June 1795, at the age of 
ten years and two months. Like his elder brother, the first 
Dauphin, who died at Meudon in June 1789, he was 
scrofulous and rickety. None of the imposters who 
claimed at a later date to be the Dauphin could produce 
any proofs; and it seems improbable that another boy 
could have been substituted for the prisoner, and the 
young prince carried off either by his adversaries or his 
partisans. Nevertheless, Monsieur George Lenotre, in his 
interesting work on " The Dauphin," recently published, 
appears to believe that the young prince was removed 
from the Temple at the time of the departure of Simon 
in January 1795, and another and older lad substituted 
m his place. After giving all the information available 
on the subject, M. Lenotre is forced to admit, how- 
ever, " In truth, and although it may be pitiful, to con- 




elude so long a narrative with these words: We do not 

The strongest argument in favor of his assumption 
seems to be the strange neglect with which the memory 
of the Dauphin was treated by the royal family. Louis 
the Eighteenth was hardly installed before he gave orders 
to search for the spot in the Madeleine cemetery where the 
bodies of his brother and Marie-Antoinette were buried, 
but no such inquiry was made regarding the remains of 
the Dauphin. It was known that he had been buried in 
the " trench," or common grave of the cemetery of 
Sainte-Marguerite, and that the grave-digger had after- 
wards withdrawn the body and reburied it alongside the 
church wall. But it was not until November 1 846, during 
the last years of the reign of Louis-Philippe, that any 
search was made for the grave. Then a few blows with 
a pickaxe brought to light, at the exact place indicated 
by the grave-digger, a coffin of lead, which was carried to 
the presbytery, and opened in the presence of several 
priests and a few doctors. Forty-eight years later a fresh 
inquiry was undertaken, and on this occasion the remains 
were carefully examined by a number of the greatest 
specialists in Paris. All agreed that the remains were 
undoubtedly those of the boy upon whom the autopsy 
was performed in the Temple, but whether he was the 
Dauphin or not, of course no one could say. 

Another strange circumstance was the fact that Louis 
the Eighteenth refused to receive the heart taken from 
the body of the Dauphin at the time of the autopsy, and 
carefully preserved as a precious relic until after the re- 
turn of the Bourbons. An inquiry conducted by M. Pas- 
quier proved the authenticity of the heart, but all the 
same the King refused to accept it. 

The hair of the little prince, cut off and taken away 
at the time of the autopsy, fared no better. It had been 
preserved in a reliquary of white velvet, figured with 
.Qfolden fleurs de lis, itself enclosed in a red morocco case, 
bearing the inscription, " Hair of His Majesty Louis 
XVII." No relic presented more marks of authenticity, 



but the Duchesse d'Angouleme, the sister of the martyr 
of the Temple, absolutely refused to receive it. 

All these facts would seem to indicate that the royal 
family knew that the boy who died in the Temple was 
not really the Dauphin of France. The door was thus 
opened wide for impostors, and they appeared in every 
quarter of the globe. The two most famous of the pre- 
tenders were Richemont and Naundorff, about whom a 
considerable literature has grown up. 

What then can have become of the royal child? Like 
M. Lenotre we can only answer: We do not know. The 
fate of the little Dauphin will always remain " The Riddle 
of the Temple." 

After the death of the Dauphin, his uncles, the Comte 
de Provence and the Comte d'Artois, at once assumed the 
titles of King and of Monsieur, respectively. At this 
time there was also talk of a marriage between Madame 
Royale and the Due d'Orleans, the future King Louis- 
Philippe, who had passed over to the Austrians with 
Dumouriez, and was now teaching at Lausanne. But she 
later became the wife of the Due d'Angouleme, the eldest 
son of Artois, and he married a granddaughter of Queen 
Caroline of Naples, a sister of Marie-Antoinette. So much 
for royal match-making! 

On the I*"" Vendemiaire An IV (23 September 1795), 
the Convention proclaimed the acceptance of the Consti- 
tution by 914,853 votes to 41,892, and of the Decree of 
Two-Thirds iDy 167,758 to 95,373: consequently the Con- 
vention declared the Constitution and the decree to be 
the laws of the State. 

The sections of Paris, which had almost unanimously 
opposed the decree, filed a protest with the Convention, 
but obtained no satisfaction. In anticipation of trouble, 
the Government ordered some troops in camp at Marly, 
below Paris, to come to the Sablons, behind Chaillot, near 
the present Bois de Boulogne. 

From the first to the eleventh Vendemiaire the excite- 
ment in Paris continued to increase. The tocsin was 
sounded, and 32 of the 48 Sections responded to the call 



of Lepeletier. The Convention remained in permanent 
session. The committees of the government delegated 
their powers to five of their members: a kind of Directory 
in anticipation. 

On the twelfth the situation became worse. The Lepe- 
letier section issued a call to arms, and the mobilization 
of the National Guards was completed. For its protection 
the Assembly had only about 500 gendarmes and 1500 
volunteers. To disperse the armed bands of the sections, 
the 4000 troops at the Sablons were ordered up, under 
the command of Menou. He obeyed, but moved very 
slowly. Instead of acting, he opened negotiations with the 
president of the sections, and promised to retire if the 
sectionnaires would do the same. Bonaparte, who had at- 
tended a theatre that evening, was a witness of this scene. 
It was now late, and both the regular troops and the 
insurgents retired. 

That night the Convention removed Menou, and 
appointed Barras commander-in-chief. They also placed 
under his orders several general officers then at Paris, 
notably Bonaparte, Brune, Carteaux and Dupont. 

Promoted general of brigade after Toulon, in Decem- 
ber 1793, Bonaparte had commanded the artillery of the 
Army of Italy from January 1794 to March 1795, and 
had then been assigned to the Army of the West. On his 
arrival at Paris in May, the Minister of War, Aubry, 
transferred him to the infantry. Bonaparte declined this 
appointment, on the plea of ill-health, and remained at 
Paris J on the 15 September his name was stricken from 
the rolls of the army. As already stated, during the sum- 
mer he was employed by Carnot in the Topographical 
Bureau, and drew up a plan for the Campaign of Italy, 
which was scornfully rejected by the commanders in the 

In this crisis, Barras, who had known him since the 
siege of Toulon, was glad to utilize his services as aide 
de camp, or chief of staff. 

On the evening of the 1 2 Vendemiaire, 4 October 1795, 
Bonaparte had attended the Theatre Feydeau, and when 



he left at the end of the performance, speaking of the 
false position of Menou in the Rue Vivienne, he said to 
Junot: " If the Sections were to put me at their head I 
would undertake, myself, to put them in the Tuileries 
in two hours, and to chase out these miserable Convention- 
nels." Two hours later, at one o'clock in the morning, 
Bonaparte was in the Tuileries, but as General of the 
Convention! Before accepting the command which was 
oflFered him by Barras, he requested a moment for 

" Three minutes only," replied Barras. 

" Very well," replied Bonaparte, " I accept. But I warn 
you that, the sword once out of its sheath, I shall not 
replace it until I have reestablished order." 

" That is also my understanding." 

" Well, do not let us lose any time, minutes now are 

Everything was to be done, and here was Bonaparte 
who already spoke with the tone of a commander, in the 
palace which would soon be the theatre of his colossal 
power and of his incomparable renown. 

The troops of Menou were posted around the Tuileries, 
but their cannon had been left at the Sablons. Bonaparte 
immediately dispatched his future brother-in-law. Major 
Murat, with 300 troopers in search of the guns. He ar- 
rived just in time to prevent the insurgents from seizing 
them, and at six o'clock in the morning of the 13 Vende- 
miaire the forty pieces were at the Tuileries. Bonaparte 
placed the cannon at the different points which com- 
manded the approaches to the Chateau: from the Place 
de la Revolution, by the Rue Saint-Honore to the Palais- 
Royal, and on the left bank of the Seine, from the Pont 
de la Concorde to the Pont Royal. By this arrangement 
the small forces of the Convention ran no risk of being 
overwhelmed by numbers, and the communications of the 
insurgents from one bank of the river to the other were 
hampered. By ten o'clock in the morning, all the mili- 
tary preparations had been completed. 

On their side, the sectionnaires were well organized. 

[ 3^0 ] 


The National Guards amounted to at least 25,000 men, 
commanded by a former general of brigade, Danican, 
and two returned emigres, Colbert and Laf ond. 

It was a chilly, rainy morning, and the patriots, who 
were ready to die in defence of their rights, had an in- 
superable objection to getting wet. When the rain ceased, 
about four o'clock, Danican led his men against the Tuile- 
ries. A half hour later, the first shots were fired, in the 
Rue Saint-Honore near the Church of Saint-Roch, and 
the conflict soon extended from this point to the Palais- 
Royal. The battle was short but furious. The cannon, well 
posted, enfiladed all the streets approaching the Tuileries. 
The courage of the patriots could not withstand such 
unexpected and brutal treatment, and they fled in all 
directions. Such was the famous " whiff of grape-shot " 
which, Carlyle says, " ended the French Revolution." 

After years of insurrection, Paris had finally found her 
master. Bonaparte had entered on the scene of History 1 

The last of the great revolutionary days was not the 
most sanguinary: the number of killed and wounded on 
both sides has been estimated at only two or three 

The army for the first time had taken a decisive part 
in civil affairs. To ensure the maintenance of order, the 
camp of the soldiers was now transferred from the Sablons 
to the Tuileries. The sections were disarmed, and there 
were no further attempts at resistance. A military com- 
mission condemned only two persons to death: Laf ond 
and Lebois. The barriers were not closed, and all the 
accused could easily escape. 

Immediate promotions were given to the officers who 
had been prominent in the defence of the government. 
Bonaparte was named general en second of the Army of 
the Interior, 8 October j promoted general of division, 
16 October 5 and succeeded Barras as general-in-chief of 
the Army of the Interior on the 26 October. His remark- 
able fortune dates from the 13 Vendemiaire. 

The importance of the government's victory over the 
sections cannot be overstated. If the insurgents had been 



successful, the restoration of the Monarchy would have 
been a question only of days. Tallien, who was deeply 
compromised in the royalist intrigues, saved himself by 
denouncing others. As the result of a report by Barras 
on the dangers of royalism, a commission of five members 
was named to propose measures of " public safety," and 
Tallien was appointed reporter! 

The Convention terminated its labors, as it had begun, 
in an atmosphere of fury and passion. A proposal to set 
aside the new Constitution, like that of 1793, was ener- 
getically opposed, and voted down, and the new govern- 
ment went into office on the 26 October. 

At its final session, the Convention decreed a general 
amnesty for all the " deeds connected with the Revolu- 
tion," with the exception of priests " deportes," emigres, 
and vendemiairistes. Dating from the day of the procla- 
mation of a general peace, the penalty of death was to 
be abolished in the Republic, and the " Place de la Revo- 
lution," where the guillotine had performed its functions, 
was to be called " Place de la Concorde." 

" In the span of three years," says Madelin, " the Con- 
vention had lived a hundred, amidst unheard of perils: 
it had proclaimed the Republic in the France of Louis 
the Fourteenth, and it had organized in the name of 
Liberty the most formidable tyranny any country had ever 
known J it had sent a king to the scaffold, and raised 
armies that had driven back the Powers of Europe; it 
had put down civil war, and carried France to her natural 

But it would be unjust to drop the final curtain with- 
out speaking of the great measures adopted by the Con- 
vention in the cause of Public Instruction. In the midst 
of all its dangers, it founded the " Lycees " of the future: 
the ficoles Centrales, the ficole Polytechnique, and the 
ficole Normale. It reorganized the Museum of Natural 
History and the College de France; it organized the Con- 
servatoire des Arts et Metiers, and, finally, that " great 
and majestic creation," the Institute of France. 

[ 3" ] 


I 795-1 797 


Inauguration of the New Government — The Corps Legislatif — The 
Five Directors — Their Installation at the Luxembourg — The 
Ministers — The Parties — Program of the Government — The 
Clerical and Royalist Menace — Exchange of Madame Royale — 
Pichegru at Paris — End of the Civil War — Phelippeaux and 
Sidney Smith — Benjamin Constant — Foreign Policy — Opera- 
tions in Germany — The Spanish Alliance — Negotiations with 
England — The Irish Expedition — Barthelemy, Director — 
Hoche and Talleyrand, Ministers — The i8 Fructidor — The 
New Directors — Augereau and Bonaparte 

THE Corps Legislatif was composed of 506 Conven- 
tionnels, instead of 500, and of 235 deputies of 
the new third, instead of 250, that is to say, of 
741 members in all, in place of 750, as provided by the 
new Constitution. The Councils met for the first time on 
the night of the 27 October 1795. The names of the 
deputies more than forty years of age were placed in an 
urn, and the members of the Council of the Ancients 
were drawn by lot: they numbered 243, instead of 250, 
of whom 164 were former members of the Convention. 
In the lower chamber of Five-Hundred there were 498 
deputies, 342 ex-Conventionnels and 156 of the new 
third. The two Councils held their first meeting separately 
on the following day, and elected their officers. 

On the 31 October the election of the Directors took 
place. The new Constitution provided that they should 
be chosen by the Anciens from a list of fifty names pre- 
sented by the Cinq-Cents. The latter took advantage of 
this provision to draw up a list of fifty persons, of whom 
forty-four were absolutely unknown: the choice of the 



upper chamber was therefore practically limited to six 

On the first of November accordingly the Anciens 
elected the Directory from the first five names on the 
list : Barras, Sieyes, Reubell, La Revelliere, and Le Tour- 
neur. Sieyes declined to serve, and Carnot was chosen in 
his place. 

Reubell, the oldest of the Directors, was forty-eight, 
and Barras, the youngest, was forty j the three others were 
from forty-two to forty-four. With the exception of La 
Revelliere, they were all large, robust men. Barras was 
handsome, and prided himself upon his air of distinction. 
He was the only man from the South, and the only 
former noble. His four colleagues came from the north 
of France, and belonged to the bourgeoisie. Barras, Carnot 
and Le Tourneur, before the Revolution, were captains 
in the Engineers, while the other two were lawyers. The 
fcair bourgeois were absolutely honest and devoted to 
their task, while the ex-vicomte always looked for the 
pleasures and the advantages which he could derive from 
his position. 

Elegant, luxurious, wildly extravagant, ever short of 
money, notwithstanding his salary of 125,000 francs a 
year J ready always to sell his influence to the highest 
bidder J a sensualist and a debauche, surrounded by a court 
of intriguers, and of pretty women of loose morals, like 
Josephine and Theresiaj as devoid of morality as it was 
possible for a man to be, Barras represented in the new 
Republic all of the rottenness of the Ancien Regime. His 
contemporaries paint him in the darkest of colors, but his 
own Memoirs are his strongest indictment. As he was the 
only one of the Directors to remain in power until the 
end, his vile reputation has thrown a shadow over the 
whole period of the Directory. 

The irony of fate had associated the pure and austere 
Carnot with this " most dissolute of rakes." His sturdy 
figure, says Madelin, was in curious contrast to the supple 
elegance of Barras, and morally the difference was even 
more extraordinary. Proud, serious, moral, he belonged, 



says Albert Sorel, to " the corps of engineers in politics 
as well as in war." He, too, loved power, but only for the 
opportunity it gave him of serving his country. As the 
" organizer of victory," after Thermidor he had escaped 
the unpopularity of his colleagues, and had been elected 
to the Assembly by fourteen departments. 

Reubell, an Alsatian lawyer, was a ruddy, round-faced, 
broad-shouldered man, who still remained at heart a 
thorough Jacobin. His colleagues were both offended and 
intimidated by his arrogance. He was always in favor 
of violent measures. 

La Revelliere was one of the few Girondins who had 
escaped the Revolutionary Tribunal. The strongest 
feature of his character was his hatred of priests, al- 
though he .was essentially an upright, and even a religious 

Le Tourneur was a former engineer officer, like his 
friend Carnot, whom he followed in every respect. 

On the 13 Brumaire of the Year Four (4 November 
1795) the four Directors met in the hall of the former 
Committee of Public Safety in the Tuileries, and then 
set out for the Luxembourg, which had been assigned 
them as an official residence. It was a strange procession: 
in the two hackney carriages rode the four men, of whom 
three were quite unknown to the public. The only celeb- 
rity among them, Barras, attracted attention by the great 
sword he held upright between his knees. They were es- 
corted by 1 20 dragoons and the same number of infantry- 
men of the Constitutional Guard. The troops were poorly 
clad: the cavalry had no boots. 

At the Luxembourg, there was no one to receive them 
except the concierge. Since the departure of the Comte 
de Provence in 1791, the palace had not been kept up, 
and all the furniture had mysteriously disappeared. The 
Directors wandered about until they found a room with 
a table and a fireplace. One of the legs of the table had 
rotted out and fallen off, and it was as lopsided as the 
new government. The concierge found four cane- 
bottomed chairs, and brought in an armful of wood. One 

[ 3^5 ] 


of the magistrates had brought a few sheets of paper from 
the Pavilion de Flore, and on these were inscribed the 
minutes of the first meeting of " Their Majesties," as 
the Directors were derisively called by the people. When 
the five men made their first public appearance in the gala 
dress of satin, with capes " a la Frangois I %" red hats 
with plumes, laces, swords, silk stockings, and shoes with 
rosettes, the Parisians could not keep a straight face. The 
" Luxembourg Masquerade " filled the people with 

The Ministers appointed by the Directory were gen- 
erally unknown men with the exception of Merlin of 
Douai, who had the department of Justice. The Ministry 
of the Interior was overburdened with duties. This de- 
partment performed the same services as the present 
ministries of the Interior, Agriculture, Public Instruction 
and Beaux-Arts, Public Works, and Commerce, and the 
bureaux of the Police, and the Posts. In order to relieve 
this department of some of its duties, on the second of 
January 1796, the Directory created a new ministry under 
the name of " Police Generale de la Republique," and 
gave the portfolio to Merlin, who was superseded in the 
Justice by Genissieu. Other changes took place during the 
following months, but they were of no political impor- 
tance. Reubell charged himself particularly with the 
supervision of Foreign Affairs. The only ministers with 
any initiative were those of Justice and Finance. 

The Directors, who had no control over the Treasury, 
soon asked the Corps Legislatif for an appropriation, 
and the sum of twenty million livres was voted, not to 
the Directors, but to the various ministers. This grant 
disclosed the fact that the Treasury was empty! An eflFort 
was made to raise six hundred millions by a forced loan, 
directed principally against the owners of large fortunes. 
This measure brought more hatred on the Directory than 
had been caused by all the tyranny of Robespierre. 

The Anciens sat in the Tuileries, in the former hall of 
the Convention, and the Cinq-Cents in the Manege. The 
deputies were forbidden to form groups according to their 



opinions, and all the seats were drawn by lot every month. 
The terms Right, Left and Centre, therefore, cannot be 
employed to distinguish the parties under the Directory, 
but the divisions existed nevertheless. A dozen of the 
most active of the new men met regularly, several times 
a week, at the house of one of the members in the Rue 
de Clichy, and this clique, which later became more 
numerous, received the name of the party of the Clichyens. 
The Directory had no constructive ability in the field of 
politics, and never succeeded in forming a party of its 
own to support it in the Assembly. 

In a " Proclamation to the French People," under 
date of the 5 November 1795, the Directory announced 
its program, which may be summed up in three words: 
Order, Peace, and Progress. It was identical with the 
policy which brought so much glory to Bonaparte under 
the Consulate, but it was never carried out. The Directory 
was unable to put a stop to disorder j war was carried on 
because, as Sieyes frankly admitted, " we shall all be 
destroyed if peace is made "j and the country went stead- 
ily from bad to worse. 

Although the Government had succeeded in restoring 
order in Paris on the 1 3 Vendemiaire, the danger still re- 
mained grave. The greatest peril came from the Army, 
which was full of possible Monks and Cassars. Pichegru 
was intriguing with Louis the Eighteenth, and even the 
loyal Hoche had his theories for the reorganization of the 

The Directory did not realize the extent of the mili- 
tary peril, which in the end was to overthrow it, but 
it was full of fear of the Clerical menace. Everywhere in 
France there was a spontaneous revival of religious 
fervor: there was " an explosion of the faith that had been 
too long suppressed." Especially in the country districts 
was there a demand for the return of the " good priests." 
A sort of religious intoxication, says M. Madelin, seized, 
not only the peasants, apparently so indiflFerent only a 
short time before, but also the upper classes, once so 
deeply tinctured with infidelity. This "resurrection" 

L327 ] 


greatly disturbed the Directory, and at the Luxembourg 
it was decided to destroy " the infernal ascendancy of the 
priesthood." The result was an absurd persecution which 
accomplished nothing. 

Another danger came from the royalist insurrections in 
the Vendee, Normandie and Bretagne. These were all 
supported, if not incited, by England, which sent gold, 
and arms and ammunition, into the West. There was very 
little spontaneity about these movements: they ceased as 
soon as the British gold failed to arrive. In this case, it 
must be admitted, the Directory acted with energy and 
ability, and its success was complete. 

On the 24 June 1795, two weeks after the death of the 
Dauphin, the minister of Tuscany at Paris proposed an ex- 
change of Madame Royale, " the daughter of the last 
King of the French." As the royalist danger seemed past, 
the Convention decided to negotiate her exchange against 
eight prominent citizens detained by the Austrians: Beur- 
nonville, the former Minister of War, and the four depu- 
ties given up by Dumouriez; Drouet, another deputy; 
and two diplomatic agents, Maret and Semonville. The 
Princesse left Paris the 19 December, and was delivered 
to the Austrians at Bale a week later. All of the released 
deputies had been elected to the Corps Legislatif, and 
Drouet, the same man who had arrested the flight of the 
King at Varennes, had an enthusiastic reception when he 
related his experiences to the Cinq-Cents, on the 13 

The danger from royalist plots, however, was far from 
being over. Pichegru, after being relieved of his com- 
mand, for his grave neglect of duty in December, had re- 
turned to Paris. He should have been tried for treason, 
but the authorities were strangely lenient. The Royalists 
counted on him to aid their plans, but he did not dare 
to move. He accepted the appointment of minister to 
Sweden, but obtained permission, before leaving for his 
post, to take a short vacation in his native province, 
Franche-Comte, where he could easily keep in touch with 
the royalists across the frontier. He left Paris convinced 



that it would be impossible to restore the monarchy except 
by a revulsion in public sentiment. 

This change of opinion was due mainly to the collapse 
of the royalist insurrection in the West. After a sudden 
appearance on the coast, the Comte d'Artois had given up 
all hope of success, and sailed away. Where so many Re- 
publican generals had met only with failure, Hoche had 
succeeded. In May and June, the last of the insurgents 
laid down their arms, and the civil war was ended. 

In the departments of Cher and Indre, Phelippeaux 
had raised an insurrection, but was defeated and captured. 
He escaped from the prison at Bourges, and had the 
audacity to come to Paris, where he aided the English 
sailor Sidney Smith to gain his freedom. Phelippeaux was 
a former comrade of Bonaparte at the ficole Militaire, 
and the latter was to encounter the two friends again at 
the siege of Acre, where they contributed powerfully to 
the failure of his plans. 

The first year of the Directory was perhaps the most 
peaceful period of the Revolutionary era in France. To 
this regime of order Benjamin Constant materially con- 
tributed, by two articles on the necessity of all factions 
rallying to the Government, published in the " Moni- 
teur " early in May. Constant was born in Switzerland, 
but was of Huguenot-French descent. He was an inti- 
mate friend of Madame de Stael, and was later to become 
a power at Paris. 

Soon after the Directory came into ofSce it had to 
decide upon the future foreign policy of France. Three 
courses were open to it: (i) To withdraw to the ancient 
boundaries of France under the Monarchy j (2) To re- 
tain the conquests already made, limited by the " natural 
frontiers " of the Rhine and the Alps 5 (3) To embark on 
an imperialistic program of indefinite conquest and 

Reubell, who from the first had taken the direction 
of the department of Foreign AflFairs, favored the second 
policy. He was an Alsatian, and he naturally wished for 
the " barrier of the Rhine." All of his colleagues did not 

[ 329 ] 


agree with him, but for the moment they did not oppose 
his views. Carnot, who had at one time supported the 
doctrine of the " natural frontiers," was now inclined to 
favor the " ancient limits." Le Tourneur, as usual, fol- 
lowed Carnot. La Revelliere wanted a war of emancipa- 
tion for all oppressed peoples. Barras was indifferent, as 
the question did not affect his pleasures or his personal in- 
terests. Reubell was therefore free to dictate the policy 
of the Government. His views are apparent in the instruc- 
tions given to Bonaparte when he was placed in command 
of the Army of Italy. But Bonaparte was not a man to be 
dictated to, and in the end his own policy prevailed over 
that of the Directory. This subject will be treated more 
fully in another place. 

On the Rhine and in Germany the Government re- 
tained the direction of affairs, but there they had no suc- 
cess. Nevertheless, to judge by the size of the armies, the 
Directors considered this the principal field of operations. 
The Austrian commander was the Archduke Charles, a 
brother of the Emperor Francis. At this time he was only 
twenty-four years of age, or two years younger than Bona- 
parte himself. He was a commander of much ability, but 
he lacked self-confidence, and was always stronger in de- 
fence than in attack. In this campaign the Aulic Council, 
frightened by the success of Bonaparte in Italy, ordered 
him to rest on the defensive. The orders of the Directory, 
on the contrary, were for the French forces to cross the 
Rhine, and carry the war into the heart of Germany. The 
Army of the Rhin-et-Moselle under Moreau advanced 
to the Danube by way of Carlsruhe and Stuttgart, while 
Jourdan with the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse reached a 
point beyond Nuremberg. By a double peace, signed in 
August with the Duke of Wurtemberg and the Margrave 
of Baden, these two princes renounced their possessions on 
the left bank of the Rhine. This action attacked the very 
constitution of the Empire. 

After this matters took a turn for the worse. Charles 
assumed the offensive and drove a wedge between the 
two French armies. Jourdan, defeated in three engage- 

[ 330] 


ments, was forced to recross the Rhine on the 20 Septem- 
ber. The Archduke then turned on Moreau, who made 
good his retreat through the Black Forest, and retired to 
Alsace the 25 October. Desaix held out at Kehl until the 
9 January 1797, and Ferino at Huningue until the 5 Feb- 
ruary: after these dates the French did not hold even a 
tete de font on the other side of the Rhine. 

In April 1796, the Directory sent General Perignon on 
a diplomatic mission to Madrid, where on the 19 August 
a treaty of alliance was signed between France and 
Spain against England. The immediate result of this 
compact was the abandonment of the Mediterranean by 
the British fleets. Corsica was evacuated in October, after 
having been occupied for three years 5 and the English 
flag was not seen again in those waters for nearly two 

At a conference held at Paris in July 1796, between 
Carnot, Clarke, Hoche, and Wolf Tone, the chief of the 
" United-Irish " party, an invasion of Ireland was de- 
cided upon and Hoche was named general-in-chief of the 
French army. 

The news of the projected invasion threw the British 
Government into a panic, and Lord Malmesbury was sent 
to Paris to open negotiations for peace. The conditions 
laid down by England, such, for instance, as a return to 
the former limits of France, were not acceptable. The 
Directory was strengthened in its determination by two 
pieces of good news which reached Paris at the same time 
— Bonaparte's victory at Arcole on the 1 7 November, 
and the death of Catherine the Second the same day. On 
the 19 December, Malmesbury was given his passports, 
and he left Paris the following day. 

Hoche was ready to sail for Ireland the middle of 
December, but when the fleet arrived in sight of the Bay 
of Bantry on the 22 December, a storm prevented the 
landing of the troops, and the expedition returned. A 
little later, in February 1797, Jarvis defeated the Spanish 
fleet at Cape Saint Vincent, and forced it to take refuge at 
Cadiz, where it was blockaded. 

[ 331 ] 


The elections of the Year Five, in the spring of 1797, 
resulted in the choice of a large majority of deputies of 
royalist sympathies. Only thirteen of the retiring mem- 
bers were reelected, out of a total of 216. 

The new Councils met on the 21 May and elected 
Barbe-Marbois as president of the Ancients, and Pichegru 
as president of the Five-Hundred. Le Tourneur having 
been designated by lot as the Director to retire, the Coun- 
cils chose in his place the Marquis de Barthelemy, .who 
had negotiated the Treaty of Bale. The new majority 
in the Corps Legislatif, however, had only a minority 
in the Directory: Carnot and Barthelemy. 

In July a crisis developed between the Councils and 
the Directory over the question of Ministers, which re- 
sulted in the appointment of Heche to the War Office, and 
Talleyrand to the Foreign Affairs. The former Bishop of 
Autun had returned from America a short time before, 
and he owed his select-ion to the intervention of his old 
friend Madame de Stael, who at this moment was all- 
powerful with Benjamin Constant. Going to her house, 
and throwing upon the t^ble his purse, which contained 
only a few louis, he said: " Voila le reste de mq fortune! 
Demain ministre, ou je me brule la cervelle! " None of 
this was true, but it was dramatic, remarks the chronicler 
of this episode, and Madame de Stael loved that. For the 
last time in her life this intriguing dame realized her 
dream of exercising political power. 

Towards the end of June, Hoche had gone to The 
Hague to demand the cooDeration of the Dutch fleet in a 
new descent on Ireland. On his return to the headouarters 
of the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse, which he commanded, 
he detached 10,000 men, with orders to march to Brest. 
The troops set out on the second of July, and both officers 
and men knew that their route would take them close to 
Paris, where they might be called on to defend the Re- 
public against the Royalists. None of the Directors except 
Barras seems to have known of this move of Hoche's — 
not even Carnot, who occupied himself specially with 
military questions. 



However this may be, Hoche was en route with his 
troops when he was named Minister of War. It was evi- 
dent to the Councils that the Directory was preparing a 
couf de force y and the Cinq-Cents demanded an explana- 
tion. But neither side wished to carry matters too far, and 
Hoche, on the 22 July, resigned his post on the ground 
that he had not reached the constitutional age of thirty 

In the meantime his soldiers had halted at a distance 
of about twelve leagues from Paris, the limit beyond 
which they could not come without the authority of the 
Councils. The passage of arms had been lively, and had 
ended in a coup nul. The two adversaries remained on 
the defensive, and watched each other. 

In his correspondence with the Directory, Bonaparte 
had continually advised a resort to force. He sent his aide 
de camp, Lavallette, to Paris on the 11 July, and 
Augereau, one of his generals, two weeks later. 

The chief reliance of the Royalists was in Pichegru, 
who had it in his power to do much, but refused to make 
a move. Hoche continued to assemble his army near 
Paris, and the first of August had 30,000 men in line. 
On the fourth of August he was denounced in the Cinq- 
Cents. The Directory countered by naming Augereau 
commander of the 17th military division, to which Paris 
belonged. Hoche, after a painful scene with Carnot, left 
Paris, and was carried off a few weeks later by a " myste- 
rious malady," which seems to have been tuberculosis. 

On the third of September a caucus of the two Coun- 
cils decided to introduce on the following day an act of 
accusation against the directorial " triumvirate." On re- 
ceiving news of this, Barras and La Revelliere met at 
ReubelPs house, and summoned Augereau and the Min- 
isters. This was the " permanent session " of the Direc- 
tory, which was to last for over forty-eight hours. 

The coup d'etat of the 18 Fructidor, 4 September 1797, 
began at three o'clock in the morning. In silence the 
governmental troops drew a cordon around the Tuileries 
and took possession of the bridges across the Seine j the 

[ 333 ] 


barriers were closed, and notices posted, and sent to the 

Carnot, warned in time, escaped by the Luxembourg 
Garden. Barthelemy remained at home, refused to re- 
sign, and was guarded as a prisoner. At daybreak the troops 
entered the Tuileries without opposition. Some of the 
deputies were arrested on their arrival, and others hid 
themselves. At ten o'clock the Directory took possession 
of the Odeon and the Medical School for the sessions 
of the two Councils. The deputies met in these two places 
for four days only, and then returned to the Tuileries and 
the Manege. There was no disturbance of any kind in the 
city. On the evening of the fifth the Paris barriers were 
opened again, and conditions were normal in every respect. 

As a result of the coup d'etat, 140 deputies were de- 
prived of their seats, and S3 were transported. At the same 
time over forty journals were suppressed. 

It only remained to replace the two directors. Francois 
de Neufchateau was chosen to succeed Carnot, and Merlin 
de Douai in place of Barthelemy. Augereau was much 
disappointed, as he had hoped to be one of the new mag- 
istrates. The death of Hoche on the 19 September made 
an opening for*him. Moreau had been recalled on the 
second of September, and now the three armies on the 
northern frontier were amalgamated under the name of 
the Army of Germany, and given to Augereau. The last 
of October Kellermann was deprived of his command, 
and the Army of the Alps was united to the Army of 
Italy. There were now only two generals-in-chief, for all 
the armies of the Republic, and they were men in whom 
the Directors had absolute confidence: Augereau and 



I 796-1 797 


Bonaparte in Command of the Army of Italy — The Theatre of War 

— Condition of the French Army — Bonaparte's First Proclama- 
tion — State of the Peninsula — Bonaparte's Plan of Campaign 

— Battles of Montenotte and Mondovi — Armistice with Pied- 
mont — The Austrians Retire within the Quadrilateral — Battle 
of Lodi and Entrance into Milan — Siege of Mantua — Bona- 
parte's Second Proclamation — Battle of Castiglione — Battle of 
Bassano — Battle of Arcole — Renewal of Hostilities — Battle 
of Rivoli — Battle of La Favorita and Fall of Mantua — Treaty 
of Tolentino — The Last Italian Campaign — The Archduke 
Charles — Retreat of the Austrians — Preliminaries of Leoben 

— Peace of Campo-Formio — Bonaparte Returns to Paris — Re- 
sults of the Italian Campaign 

BONAPARTE was named general-in-chief of the 
Army of Italy on the second of March 1796. On 
the ninth he was married to Josephine de Beau- 
harnais, and left Paris two days later, to take up his com- 
mand at Nice on the 26 March. Barras states in his 
" Memoires " that this command was given to Napoleon 
as a wedding gift to Josephine! But this assertion is 
absolutely false: the appointment was in fact made by 
Carnot, and Barras and the other Directors simply gave 
their approval. The year before, while connected with the 
Topographical Bureau, Bonaparte had drawn up a plan 
for the campaign of Italy. At that time, his scheme had 
been contemptuously rejected by Kellermann and Scherer, 
the two generals in command in Italy. Carnot had seen 
and studied this masterly concention, and had become 
convinced of the genius of its author. Bonaparte, there- 
fore, owed his appointment, not to a disgraceful intrigue, 
but to his own genius. 



Before entering upon a description of this wonderful 
Campaign of Italy, which gave Bonaparte undying fame, 
it may be interesting to describe briefly the topography 
of the theatre of operations. 

Separating Switzerland from Italy is the lofty moun- 
tainous range known as the Swiss Alps. Extending south 
from western Switzerland to within about thirty miles 
of the sea, and forming the boundary line between 
France and Italy, are the French Alps. Turning east 
from this point and approaching the sea, the range is 
called the Maritime Alps; and still further east, along 
the shores of the Gulf of Genoa, is known as 
the Apennines. 

With the exception of a few passes, these great moun- 
tain ranges, almost encircling northern Italy, form an 
unsurmountable barrier to military operations. To-day, 
magnificent highways cross the Alps, and they are pierced 
by several tunnels which bring Turin and Milan within 
a few hours of France and Switzerland, but in the clos- 
ing years of the eighteenth century, there were only a 
few passes, which were both difficult and dangerous for 
troops, and almost impassable for cavalry and artillery. 

At the time he took command, Bonaparte found the 
Army of Italy in a very precarious situation. Its detach- 
ments were stretched out along the coast from Nice to 
Savona, while the Allies occupied strong positions along 
the northern slopes of the Maritime Alps and the Apen- 
nines, and had the further advantage of inner and there- 
fore shorter lines. 

The new commander, without money to feed, equip or 
pay his soldiers, at once won their hearts by the first of 
those ringing proclamations which he knew so well how 
to write: 

" Soldiers! You are hungry and nearly naked. The 
Government owes you much, but can do nothing for you. 
Your patience and courage do you honor but they bring 
you neither profit nor glory. I am come to lead you into 
the most fertile plains in the world. There you will find 
rich provinces and great towns. There you will find glory, 



honor, and riches. Soldiers of Italy, can your courage 
fail you? '' 

At this time Italy was divided into more than a dozen 
small rival states. The daughters of the King of Pied- 
mont, Victor Amadeus the Third, had married Provence 
and Artois, the two brothers of Louis the Sixteenth, 
and this fact had led him to enter the coalition against 
France. Lombardy belonged to Austria, and a prince 
of that House ruled in Tuscany. The only heir of the 
Duke of Modena had married the Archduke Ferdi- 
nand, a brother of the Emperor. Marie-Caroline, a sister 
of the unfortunate Marie-Antoinette, occupied the throne 
of Naples as consort of the weak Ferdinand the Fourth. 
The Pope, Pius Sixth, was unfriendly to France on ac- 
count of the destruction of the Church in the new Repub- 
lic. Practically all of the states in the Peninsula were 
therefore unfriendly to France, with the exception of the 
two republics of Venice and Genoa which were nominally 

At the time that Bonaparte took command of the Army 
of Italy its strength did not exceed 40,000 men. But it 
was composed of excellent troops, now long inured to the 
fatigues of mountain warfare. The chief of staff was 
Berthier, and other members were Marmont, Murat and 
Junot. The divisions were commanded by Massena, 
Augereau and Serurier, while serving in subordinate posi- 
tions were Lannes, Bessieres, Suchet and Victor, all of 
whom were destined to attain distinction under the 

General Colli, an officer of high reputation, commanded 
the Piedmontese army of about 20,000 men, and the 
Austrian forces, about 40,000 strong, were under the 
command of Beaulieu, an experienced general but old 
and inactive 

Bonaparte at once began to concentrate his forces at 
Savona, near one of the few passes through the moun- 
tains. At the same time, he sent a column along the coast 
towards Genoa, with the idea of bringing pressure to 
bear upon that State for the payment of an indemnity 



on account of the seizure of a French vessel by the British 
within its neutral port. On hearing of this movement, 
Beaulieu with the bulk of his forces marched to the pro- 
tection of Geno^j and at the same time gave one of his 
lieutenants, Argenteau, orders to cross the mountains from 
Montenotte to Savona, that is to say, by the same route 
which Bonaparte had chosen to enter Piedmont. This 
movement, if successful, would have cut the French line 
in two, and endangered that part of the army between 
Savona and Genoa, but Argenteau met an unexpected 
obstacle. This was a simple redoubt defended by 1200 
men under Colonel Rampon, who for twenty-four hours 
held oflF 12,000 Austrians and gave Bonaparte time to 
come up with his army. 

At midnight on the 11 April, the French began their 
advance from Savona, and when the mountain mists rolled 
up on the following morning, Argenteau found himself 
confronted by the divisions of Augereau and Laharpe, 
while behind him was the division of Massena. Nearly 
surrounded by superior forces, he was compelled to beat 
a precipitate retreat upon Dego, leaving two thousand 
prisoners in the hands of the French. 

The next day Bonaparte turned upon the Piedmontese 
and drove them back on Ceva, after having cut off one of 
their divisions, which was forced to surrender twenty-four 
hours later. 

^ Leaving only the division of Augereau to contain the 
Piedmontese, Bonaparte then concentrated the rest of his 
forces against the Austrians, and on the 14 April drove 
them from Dego, capturing eie:ht thousand prisoners. 

Thus after three days' fighting, Bonaparte had suc- 
ceeded in separating the two allied armies. The Aus- 
trians were in full retreat on Acqui, and the Piedmontese 
on Ceva and Mondovi, while the French army, in a cen- 
tral position, was master of both roads and able to turn 
against either enemy at will. 

Leaving the division of Laharpe to ward off any re- 
newal of the offensive by the Austrians, Bonaparte now 
started in pursuit of the demoralized Piedmontese. who 

[ 338 ] 


abandoned their entrenched position at Ceva, and fell 
back to Mondovi, where Bonaparte overtook and de- 
feated them on the 21 April. Four days later he was at 
Cherasco, only ten leagues from Turin. Here on the 
28 April, an armistice was signed by which Piedmont 
agreed to withdraw from the coalition, disband her army, 
give up three of her strongest fortresses, and cede Nice 
and Savoie to France. 

In less than three weeks, Bonaparte had won six battles, 
killed or captured more than 12,000 men, taken over 
forty cannon, detached the Sardinians from their allies 
and forced them to make a separate peace, and had ac- 
quired as a base for future operations the fortresses of 
Coni, Tortona and Alessandria, with artillery, magazines 
and stores. 

In signing this armistice, Bonaparte had certainly gone 
beyond his authority, and he had also violated the instruc- 
tions of the Directory, which were to act especially against 
the Austrians. This was the first occasion on which he 
had commanded in chief before the enemy, and he knew 
that his appointment had not been favorably received by 
several of his generals, like Massena and Augereau, who 
were much older and had seen much longer service than 
he. But the young general, full of confidence in him- 
self, assumed from the first that air of authority and 
determination which was so natural to him, and the mur- 
murs of discontent were soon hushed in the face of the 
dazzling splendor of his victories. 

The formal treaty of peace signed at Paris the 15 May 
1796 by the agent of Victor Amadeus confirmed, and even 
aggravated the clauses of the armistice. Besides renounc- 
ine: Nice and Savoie, Sardinia agreed to give up six ad- 
ditional fortresses and to pay a contribution of three 

On the seventh of May, the Directory decided to give 
to Kellermann a part of the troops of the Army of Italy, 
with orders to occupy Lombardy, while Bonaparte with 
the rest of his army was to be sent to the south. The 
conflict of authority was brief but decisive. Bonaparte 



wrote the Directory that he was willing to serve under 
Kellermann, or with Kellermann under him, but that 
no advantage could be obtained from the proposed di- 
vision of authority. The majority of the Directory, 
Carnotj Barras, and Le Tourneur, sided with Bonaparte, 
and the order was annulled on the 21 May. 

Bonaparte, however, had not awaited this decision at 
Paris before continuing his advance. With the purpose 
of deceiving the Austrians as to his future plans, he had 
put a clause in the armistice providing that the town of 
Valenza on the Po should be surrendered to him. Ex- 
pecting that the French would attempt the passage of 
the river at that point, Beaulieu strongly fortified 
the approaches to the river, and also prepared a second 
line of defence at Pavia, behind the Ticino. But 
Napoleon, after making a feint at Valenza, marched 
his army rapidly down the right bank of the river to 
Placentia, a point about twenty-four miles below the 
junction of the Ticino with the Po. Here he crossed 
without serious opposition, and thus turned both of the 
positions so carefully fortified by the Austrians. If Beau- 
lieu continued to remain at Milan, his line of retreat 
towards the Adige and the Tyrol would be cut off: he 
therefore decided to evacuate Lombardy and retire be- 
hind the Mincio within the lines of the celebrated 

On the 10 May, there was a rear-guard skirmish at 
Lodi between the Austrians and the French, the impor- 
tance of which has been very much exaggerated on ac- 
count of its spectacular features. The French, after a 
short but spirited contest, carried the bridge by storm, 
.and took two thousand prisoners. 

The citadel of Milan, in which the Austrians had 
placed a small garrison, surrendered a few days later, 
and on the 15 May Bonaparte entered the city under a 
triumphal arch, amidst the enthusiastic cheers of the 

After remaining a few days at Milan, Bonaparte set 
out in pursuit of the Austrians. Their position within the 



Quadrilateral was one of great strength. The river Min- 
cio, which carries ofiF the surplus waters of Lake Garda, 
forms the chief interior barrier of Italy against all for- 
eign invaders. On its lowest course, where the river 
widens out into a semicircular lagoon, flanked by marshes, 
is the historic town of Mantua. This city, with Legnago, 
Verona and Peschiera, forms the most famous strategical 
position of modern history, the celebrated Quadrilateral, 
commanding the north side of the valley of the Po 
together with the passes of the Adige. 

After making a demonstration against Peschiera^ in 
order to deceive the enemy, on the 29 May Bonaparte 
attacked the Austrian centre and carried the bridge at 
Borghetto. A part of the Austrian army retired into the 
Tyrol, while the remainder took refuge in Mantua, which 
was now invested. 

Bonaparte took advantage of the pause in active mili- 
tary operations to turn to other matters. He imposed an 
armistice, with heavy contributions, upon the Duke of 
Parma, the Duke of Modena, and upon the Papal States. 
Naples agreed to recall the small contingent which had co- 
operated with the Austrians. A French division occupied 
Leghorn, and the English vessels were forced to set sail. 

Bonaparte took this occasion to issue another of his 
flaming proclamations: 

" Soldiers ! You have descended like a torrent from the 
summit of the Apennines j you have overthrown and dis- 
persed everything that opposed your progress. Piedmont, 
delivered from the Austrian tyranny, has returned to her 
natural sentiments of peace and friendship for France. 
Milan is yours, and the republican flag waves throughout 
all Lombardy. The Dukes of Parma and Modena owe 
their political existence to your generosity. The army 
which menaced you with so much pride no longer finds 
a barrier to protect itself against your arms. The Po, the 
TIcIno, and the Adda have not checked your progress for 
a single day; these boasted bulwarks of Italy have been 
crossed as rapidly as the Apennines." 

Alarmed at Bonaparte's progress, Austria now deter- 



mined to make a great effort for the relief of Mantua 
and the recovery of Italy. The Austrian army in the Tyrol 
was increased to 6o,000 men and put under the command 
of Marshal Wurmser, an old man but a brave soldier, 
who had distinguished himself in several campaigns. Be- 
sides the main Austrian force, there were 1 2,000 men shut 
up in Mantua. 

Bonaparte had altogether 45,ockd men: one division, 
10,000 strong, was besieging Mantua, while the others 
were posted at Legnago and Verona. 

From Trent, the headquarters of the Austrian army, 
there were three direct routes to the Quadrilateral: one 
by the west side of Lake Garda, the other two down the 
Adige, on the east side of the lake — one to Rivoli by the 
right bank of the river and the other to Verona by the 
left bank. 

Wurmser, with the idea of enveloping and capturing 
the whole French army, divided his forces into two corps: 
one, 25,000 strong, commanded by Quasdanovich, took 
the route by the west side of the lake, while the other, 
35,000 strong, commanded by Wurmser himself, de- 
scended the Adige in two columns, one on each side of the 

On the 30 July, Bonaparte learned that the Austrians 
were advancing on both sides of the lake. He immediately 
raised the siege of Mantua and concentrated all his avail- 
able troops at the lower end of Lake Garda. On the first 
day of August, he attacked and defeated Quasdanovich 
and forced him back into the mountains on the west side 
of the lake. He then turned back his columns and marched 
to meet Wurmser, who had directed one of his divisions 
on Lonato and another on Castiglione, while with the 
main part of his army he continued his march to Mantua. 

On the third of August Bonaparte attacked and de- 
feated the two Austrian divisions which had crossed the 
Mincio. In the meantime Wurmser had arrived at Man- 
tua, revictualled the garrison, and then marched out to 
find the French. On the fifth of August, the Austrians 
were defeated for the second time at Castiglione, driven 



back across the river, and finally forced to retire into 
the Tyrol. The siege of Mantua was then resumed. 

The operations around Castiglione had been admirable 
from a military point of view, but they had neither de- 
stroyed the enemy nor brought peace nearer. In less than 
two weeks Wurmser had organized in the Tyrol another 
army, which he divided into two corps of nearly equal 
strength. Leaving Davidovich with 20,000 men in the 
Tyrol, with the remainder of his force, 26,000 strong, 
the marshal prepared to descend the valley of the Brenta 
by a road which follows the river's course as far as Bas- 
sano, and then passes through Vicenza into the valley of 
the Adige at Verona. 

Having received reenforcements, Bonaparte now had 
about 42,000 men. Leaving 8000 to continue the siege of 
Mantua, and 3000 to hold the fortifications at Verona, he 
himself with the main part of his army ascended the 
Adige. Early in September he attacked and defeated 
Davidovich, drove him further into the Tyrol, and gained 
possession of Trent. Until Bonaparte reached this point, 
he was not aware of Wurmser's march down the Brenta. 
Leaving a small force in the Tyrol to contain the de- 
feated Austrians, with two divisions he hurried to over- 
take Wurmser. Marching fifty miles in two days he 
came up with the Austrians at Bassano. In the battle 
which ensued, the Austrians were decisively defeated. 
A part of their forces found refuge in the mountainous 
districts of Friuli, while Wurmser himself with the re- 
mainder of his army, about 12,000 men, succeeded in 
reaching Mantua in safety. 

The Austrian government now decided to make still 
another effort to overwhelm Bonaparte and relieve Man- 
tua, where Wurmser was besieged with 20,000 men. By 
the middle of October the Austrian army was increased 
to 50,000 men, while Bonaparte had hardly 40,000, in- 
cluding the 8000 troops who were besieging Mantua. 
The new Austrian army was put under the command 
of Alvinzy. At the end of October, the military 
position was as follows: Alvinzy with 30,000 men was 

[ 343 ] 


on the Piave, threatening an advance on Vicenzaj 
Davidovich with 20,ooo more was in the Tyrol 5 and the 
main French army which numbered about 30,0CX) was 
at Verona. 

The new offensive began on the first day of Novem- 
ber and at first was quite successful. On the sixth, 
Massena was driven back at Bassano, and on the twelfth, 
Bonaparte himself was repulsed at Caldiero, and was 
forced to retreat to Verona, with a loss of 30CXD men. 

The French position was now very critical. Davido- 
vich had descended the Adige and was only held in 
check by a single division occupying the strong position 
of Rivoli. Only a few miles separated the two Austrian 
armies and it seemed as if their junction could not be 

At this critical moment Bonaparte decided to under- 
take one of the most daring turning movements recorded 
in history. He ordered Kilmaine to withdraw from the 
siege of Mantua with 2000 troops, take command at Ve- 
rona, and hold it till the last. Then with about 20,000 
troops he left Verona, descended the Adige, and threw 
a bridge across the river at Ronco. His plan was to cross 
the little river Alpon which flows into the Adige at this 
point, seize the defile of Villa Nova through which Al- 
vinzy had just passed and so cut off his retreat. A narrow 
causeway, traversing a marshy plain cut by canals, joins 
Ronco to Arcole, and is terminated, at the entrance of 
Arcole, by a little wooden bridge across the Alpon. Bona- 
parte had thought that he would surprise the enemy, 
but two battalions of Croats with two cannon had been 
sent by Alvinzy to protect his flank, and the French 
were foiled in all their efforts to carry the bridge. 

The battle which had begun on the 15 November 
was continued on the two following days. On the last 
day, Bonaparte finally succeeded in crossing the river 
and took Arcole in reverse. He then employed a skilful 
ruse to add to the discouragement of his foes. He posted 
a small body of horsemen behind a little clump of woods 
near the Austrian flank, with orders to sound their 



bugles, as if for a great cavalry charge. The demoralized 
Austrians suddenly gave way and were driven from the 
field: their retreat did not end until they reached Bas- 
sano. Once more Bonaparte was victorious. 

In January 1797, the last Austrian attempt to re- 
lieve Mantua was made under the same commander. 
Alvinzy now concentrated his main force, about 30,000 
men, and marched down the valley towards Verona, 
while at the same time two smaller columns threatened 
the lower Adige from Vicenza and Padua. Aside from the 
10,000 troops under Serurier who were besieging Mantua, 
Bonaparte had only 32,000 men at his disposal. 

On the 12 January, Alvinzy's lieutenant, Provera, 
approached Verona with one division, and his force was 
attacked and defeated by Massena, nearly 1000 Aus- 
trians being captured. This easy victory convinced Bona- 
parte that the Austrian commander was not making his 
main attack from this direction. The next afternoon he 
learned that Joubert was hard pressed, and had been 
forced to fall back upon Rivoli. He sent orders to Jou- 
bert to hold the plateau at all hazards, and set out with 
all of his forces for Rivoli, which he reached at day- 
break of the 14 January. 

The gorge by which the Adige breaks through the 
lowest foot-hills of the Alps to enter the lowlands has 
been famous since the earliest times. Just before arriving 
opposite the plateau at Rivoli the river cuts through the 
mountain, flows by the town, and thence past Verona 
and Legnago towards the sea. The Austrians were 
marching by the two main roads, which lie on opposite 
sides of the river. Before passing the mountains, Alvinzy 
had divided his forces into six parts, with the idea of 
surrounding and capturing the entire French army. 
One column of 5000 men was descending the river by the 
road on the left bank, while another column of 9000 men 
was following the road along the right bank. Three other 
columns were to pass over the mountain roads and attack 
the French front, while the sixth column, 4000 strong, 
was to march around the French left flank and attack them 

- [ 345 ] 


in the rear. These six columns were all separated from 
each other by practically impassable barriers. 

When Bonaparte arrived at Rivoli just before daybreak 
on the 14 January, he had only the division of Joubert in 
hand, but Massena would soon be up with 8000 more. 
With these i8,000 men, he had to meet 28,OCX) Austrians, 
who, however, were so separated that he was able easily to 
beat them in detail. The battle ended in the worst defeat 
and the most complete rout which the Imperial arms had 
thus far sustained. The beaten army was pursued into 
the Tyrol, and 13,000 prisoners were captured in the 
next two days. The battle of Rivoli is considered one of 
Bonaparte's greatest tactical victories. 

In the meantime. Pro vera, with about 8000 Austrians, 
had forced the line of the Adige and marched rapidly on 
Mantua with the French in hot pursuit. On the morning 
of the 15 January, he finally appeared before Mantua 
with 6000 men. Here he was held in check for thirty-six 
hours by the blockading French army until Bonaparte 
came to the rescue. 

Immediately after the battle of Rivoli Bonaparte had 
started for Mantua with Massena's division. Although 
these troops had been marching and fighting continuously 
for the last twenty-four hours, under Bonaparte's in- 
spiration they marched all night on the fourteenth and the 
whole of the next day, and on the morning of the six- 
teenth were ready for battle in front of Mantua. That 
morning there was a general engagement on the road 
from the city to " La Favorita," a country seat of the 
Duke, which gave its name to the battle. Provera attacked 
in front, while Wurmser sallied out from the fortress 
at the head of a strong force. The latter was thrown back 
into the town by Serurier, who commanded the besiegers, 
while Provera was attacked by Victor and so badly beaten 
that he was forced to surrender his entire army. 

In four days the Army of Italy had fought two pitched 
battles; had taken 25,000 prisoners, including three gen- 
eral officers; had captured 20 standards and 60 pieces of 
artillery, and had killed or wounded 6000 men. The 



short campaign of Rivoli was the turning point of the 
war. In ten months Bonaparte had subdued Italy and hu- 
miliated the proudest empire on the Continent. 

The victories of Rivoli and La Favorita destroyed the 
last hopes of Wurmser, and on the second of February 
the starving garrison surrendered. 

On the 9 February the French troops under Victor 
entered Ancona, which was surrendered by Colli. Bona- 
parte proceeded there, and levied a heavy contribution 
on the city. He was within a few days' marches of Rome, 
and the Pope opened negotiations. By the Treaty of 
Tolentino, signed on the 19 February, the Pope made 
important territorial cessions and agreed to make a con- 
tribution of fifteen millions, in addition to the sixteen 
millions previously levied which he had not yet paid. 

This treaty was the first which Bonaparte signed 
in the name of France. At this time General Clarke was 
sent to Tolentino by the Directory as an " envoy extraor- 
dinary " with the mission to negotiate with Austria. He 
soon left Tolentino, however, and went to Turin where 
he concluded a treaty with the new king, Charles Em- 
manuel, by which Sardinia entered into an offensive and 
defensive alliance with France against the Emperor, and 
agreed to furnish a contingent of 9000 men. 

In the spring of 1797 Austria decided to make one 
more supreme effort to regain Italy. The young Arch- 
duke Charles, who had won great glory on the Rhine, 
was recalled to take command of the Imperial forces and 
prevent the French from advancing by the now open road 
to Vienna. This brother of the Emperor, then only 
twenty-five years of age, was in his day second only to 
Napoleon as a general. His army, unlike the others, was 
inferior in numbers to the French, who had been reen- 
forced by the arrival of Bernadotte with 15,000 men. It 
was on this occasion that Bonaparte made the celebrated 
remark, that up to the present time he had had to fight 
armies without generals, now he was to meet a general 
without an army. 

[ 547 ] 


The campaign was not long, for the Austrian forces 
were inferior in every respect to the French. Bonaparte 
marched rapidly to the Tagliamento, which he reached 
on the 1 6 March, long before he was expected. The fol- 
lowing night the French forded the stream, took the 
Austrians by surprise, and forced them to retire. Massena 
captured Tarvis, and Bonaparte crossed the pass and 
entered Germany. At the end of the month of March, 
Charles, with his army largely reduced, was beyond the 
river Mur, on the road to Vienna. 

On the last day of March, Napoleon addressed to 
Charles his well-known " philosophical letter " suggest- 
ing a suspension of hostilities. He continued his pursuit, 
however, and after the capture of Leoben, on the seventh 
of April, was within one hundred miles of the Austrian 
capital. Then at last the Imperial Cabinet decided to 
treat for peace. By the preliminaries signed on the i8 
April, France was to have Belgium and the line of the 
Rhine, while Austria obtained the mainland of Venice, 
together with Istria and Dalmatia. 

When the terms of Leoben reached Paris they were 
ratified as a matter of course, even though Bonaparte had 
no powers to negotiate a treaty. The Directors notified 
him, however, that he must not interfere further in the 
affairs of Venice. This order reached him on the eighth 
of May, but just a week before Venice as an independent 
state had ceased to exist. 

At the very moment that the peace negotiations were 
being concluded, the inhabitants of the Venetian mainland 
rose against the invaders, and there were massacres of the 
French at Verona and elsewhere. These events gave Bona- 
parte a good excuse for his action: the Venetian mainland 
was given to Austria to indemnify her for further cessions 
which France exacted elsewhere. 

The negotiations with Austria for a permanent peace 
dragged on slowly throughout the summer and far into 
the autumn of 1797, mainly owing to the hopes of the 
Emperor that events in France would turn to his advan- 
tage. Such might have been the case had not Bonaparte, 




while striking down the Royalists at Paris, through his 
lieutenant, Augereau, retained his victorious army in Ve- 
netia, ready again to invade Austria should the occasion 
arise. The progress of the negotiations was helped by the 
coup d'etat of Fructidor, which seemed to render im- 
possible, at least for the present, the return of the 

Towards the middle of September Bonaparte, accom- 
panied by Josephine, took up his residence in the chateau 
of Passeriano, a fine country mansion situated on the left 
bank of the Tagliamento about four leagues from Udine. 
The negotiations had reached a point where it was nec- 
essary to conclude or break them off. At a decisive inter- 
view with the Austrian plenipotentiaries on the i6 
October, it seemed impossible to reach an agreement. 
Arising from his seat, and stamping his foot on the floor, 
Bonaparte exclaimed: "You wish warj very well, you 
shall have it! " Then seizing a magnificent porcelain 
liqueur set, he dashed it on the floor where it broke into a 
thousand fragments. " Look," he cried, " such will be 
your Austrian monarchy before three months have 
elapsed! " 

On leaving the conference chamber, Bonaparte gave 
orders to notify the Archduke Charles of the resumption 
of hostilities, after a delay of twenty-four hours. The 
following day the Peace of Campo-Formio was signed! 
It bore the name of a village situated halfway between 
Udine and Passeriano. 

The principal articles of the treaty may be thus sum- 
marized: Austria ceded to the French Republic, Belgium 
and the left bank of the Rhine, while Austria acquired 
Istria, Dalmatia, the city of Venice and the mainland of 
Venetia as far west as Lake Garda, the Adige and the 
lower part of the river Po. 

Leaving Italy a month later, Bonaparte travelled by 
way of Geneva to Rastadt, where he attended the con- 
gress. He finally reached Paris on the evening of the 
fifth of December, and took up his residence at the little 
hotel in the Rue Chantereine, from which he had de- 

[ 349 ] 


•parted twenty-one months before an obscure man, to 
which he returned as a celebrity. 

As the result of Bonaparte's conquest of Italy, the co- 
alition had been dissolved, and Austria had formally 
recognized the French Republic. More than one hun- 
dred millions of francs had been levied in Italy, one half 
of which had supported the army, while the other half, 
transmitted to Paris, had been used for the expenses of the 
government and the support of the armies on the Rhine. 
In addition, the Louvre had been enriched by the master- 
pieces from the galleries of Parma, Florence and Rome, 
which were valued at more than two hundred millions. 


1 797-1 799 


Foreign Policy of the Directory — Intervention in Switzerland — 
Mulhouse and Geneva United to France — Rome Occupied by 
French Troops — The Congress of Rastiidt — Attitude of Prussia 

— Bernadotte at Vienna — Sieyes at Berlin — Rupture with the 
United States — Plans for the Invasion of England — Bona- 
parte Favors a Descent on Egypt — The Expedition Decided 
Upon — Malta and Alexandria Captured — Battle of the Pyra- 
mids — The French Fleet Destroyed — The Syrian Expedition 

— Bonaparte Returns to France — Organization of the Second 
Coalition — Declaration of War — Occupation of Tuscany — 
Conquest of Naples — Operations in Germany and Switzerland 

— First Reverses in Ita^y — Joubert Defeated and Killed at 
Novi — Battle of Zurich — Rupture of the Coalition 

AFTER Campo-Formio, the foreign policy of the 
Government was uncertain and constantly chang- 
ing. The Directors, the ministers, the generals 
and the diplomats, all had their own ideas, and there 
was no coherency, or unity of action. There was only one 
way of securing the general peace which every one de- 
sired: that was to pacify the Continent, and force England 
to abandon the conflict by leaving her isolated. But instead 
of adopting this sane and sound policy, the Directors 
stirred up fresh troubles and created new foes by their 
intervention in Switzerland and in Italy, and made peace 

At the end of the year 1796, La Harpe, an avocat of 
Berne, had established himself at Paris, where he began 
an active propaganda in ^avor of the " Vaudois patriots " 
against the " tyrants of Berne." The district of Vaud 
was a dependent of the canton of Berne, to which it had 
been ceded by Savoie, and the people wished to obtain a 



restitution of their franchises. When Bonaparte traversed 
Switzerland on his way from Italy to the Congress of 
Rastadt, he openly sided with the patriots. After his 
arrival at Paris, on the lO December 1797, with the ap- 
proval of Reubell, he sent to the Vaud frontier the 
division of Massena from the Army of Italy. The follow- 
ing week, Augereau sent a detachment from the Army 
of the Rhine, under the command of Saint-Cyr, which 
began the occupation of the valleys of the Jura. On the 
28 December the Directors formally announced that 
France had taken the Vaudois under her direction. 

The little republic of Mulhouse, enclosed within the 
department of the Haut-Rhin, made a specialty of the 
manufacture of indiennes, or printed calicoes, which com- 
peted with similar goods produced in France. Two depu- 
ties who had been sent to Paris to negotiate a treaty 
of commerce, returned with the idea of a union with 
France. By a treaty, signed the last of January 1798, 
which was unanimously ratified by all the inhabitants, 
and was made a law by a vote of the two Councils a month 
later, the citizens of Mulhouse were made French citi- 
zens, but were to be exempt from all military charges 
and remain neutral until the conclusion of the general 
peace. On the 15 March, Mulhouse was definitely in- 
corporated in the French nation. 

The citizens of Geneva were not so unanimous in 
desiring a union with France, but after long negotiations, 
a treaty, based upon that with Mulhouse, was signed on 
the 26 April. This city also was to remain neutral until 
the general peace j but the fortifications and the arsenals 
of the town were immediately placed at the disposition 
of the French Government. By the law of the 25 August 
1798, Geneva became the chef -lieu of the new depart- 
ment of Leman. 

In the meantime, the Directory had sent an expedition 
to the Papal States. General Duphot was at Rome for the 
purpose of marrying Desiree Clary, the sister-in-law of 
the French ambassador, Joseph Bonaparte. The eve of the 
marriage there was a collision between the Papal troops 



and the Roman patriots, and several of the latter took 
refuge in the palace of the ambassador. They were pur- 
sued by the police, and during the disorder which fol- 
lowed, Duphot was killed under the eyes of Joseph, who 
left Rome the same night. When this news was received 
at Paris, the Directory, after a consultation with Bona- 
parte, decided upon a miltary intervention. On the 9 
February, General Berthier arrived at Rome and sub- 
mitted to the Pope a series of demands, to all of which 
the Holy Father consented. On the 19 February Mas- 
sena arrived to replace Berthier, and on the following 
day the Pope was exiled to Tuscany. 

At the outset, it had been hoped that the congress which 
had been sitting at Rastadt since the month of December 
1797 would succeed in arranging a definite peace. The 
congress was attended by four delegations: from the Diet 
of the Empire 5 from Austria and Prussia j and from 
France. Bonaparte, who was the principal envoy appointed 
by the Directory, made only a short appearance at Ras- 
tadt on his way to Paris, to ensure the ratification of 
the Treaty of Campo-Formio. His withdrawal much 
weakened the French mission. Nevertheless, Treilhard 
and his associate obtained one important decision: that 
France should have the boundary of the Rhine j but only 
on condition that Austria, under the terms of the treaty, 
should have a supplementary indemnity. Austria there- 
upon demanded that the Papal States should be assigned 
her, leaving the Pope only Rome and its vicinity. This 
idea was not acceptable to Bonaparte, who did not care 
to see Austria obtain a new foothold in Italy. On the 27 
February, he refused to admit this proposition, and 
in return the Emperor declined to sanction the agreement 
regarding the Rhine frontier. 

While these negotiations were going on, Prussia main- 
tained an attitude of neutrality. She knew that the treaty 
contained a secret clause which was unfavorable to her, 
but was Ignorant of its tenor. France could not obtain the 
left bank of the Rhine without the assent of Prussia, and 
that Government interpreted all French propositions as 

[353 ] 


so many traps. The death of Frederick William the 
Second and the succession of Frederick William the 
Third, on the i6 November 1797, did not in any way 
modify the attitude of Prussia. In vain France increased 
her offers, even going so far as to promise Hanover, the 
city of Hamburg, and the imperial crown. The King re- 
plied that he could not agree to any proposition as long 
as he was ignorant of the advantages promised to Austria. 

After the French Government had refused the Aus- 
trian propositions for indemnity in Italy, the prime min- 
ister, Thugut, turned towards Prussia. He knew that the 
new Czar, Paul the First, was very hostile to France, and 
he had the Emperor Francis write an autograph letter to 
the Czar to request his good offices with the King of 
Prussia. The Czar sent a cordial reply, and in his letter 
outlined the plan of a defensive league of Russia, Eng- 
land, Austria and Prussia, against France. This seems to 
have been the first suggestion of the organization of the 
Second Coalition. 

In April an unfortunate incident occurred at Vienna 
which seemed likely to lead to an immediate resumption 
of hostilities between Austria and France. In January 
General Bemadotte had been appointed French ambas- 
sador at Vienna, but he was not well received by the 
Court. Realizing the inutility of his mission, on the 12 
April 1798 he demanded his recall. On the following day 
he hung out over the door of his hotel a large tricolor 
flag. It happened to be a market-day, and the crowd be- 
came excited, tore the flag, and even entered the hotel. 
The ambassador was not rescued from the mob until late 
in the evening, a^ter having three times asked for help. 
Bemadotte was not satisfied with the excuses made by the 
Government, and left Vienna on the 15 April. 

This episode was serious, and if Thugut succeeded in 
obtaining the alliance of Prussia and Russia, as he hoped. 
It meant war. It was arranged that there should be a 
special conference at Rastadt to attempt to arrive at an 
understanding. Austria designated Cobenzl as special 
envoy, ;and the Directory named Bonaparte, who again 



refused to serve and was replaced by Frangois de Neuf- 
chateau. The meeting was held, not at Rastadt, but at 
Seltz, in Alsace, on the opposite bank of the Rhine. Co- 
benzl again demanded indemnities in Italy, which he 
wished even larger than before, on account of the French 
aggrandizements in Switzerland and at Rome. The French 
envoy could obtain no satisfaction for the insult to Ber- 
nadotte at Vienna. At the end of the conference Talley- 
rand wrote: " Ce n'est point la guerre, ce n'est point la 

In June a new French ambassador arrived at Berlin: 
the illustrious Sieyes in person. His prestige was so great 
at Paris that it was imagined that he could arrange all the 
matters in dispute with the Prussian Government. He 
did his best, and was actively aided by Talleyrand, the 
Minister of Foreign Affairs at Paris. He submitted to the 
Prussian Government a succinct proposition, one of those 
of which he made a specialty: " the Directory will make 
peace with you, without you, or against you." But the 
mission was a failure, and by the beginning of October, 
it was evident that Prussia would refuse to ally herself 
with France. 

While these unsuccessful negotiations were going on, 
the war with England continued. In the opinion of the 
Directory, two Powers could be of use in alliance with 
France: Spain and the United States. In Spain, Talleyrand 
had opened secret negotiations with the all-powerful 
Godoy to whom he sent a secret emissary. To secure his 
good services the French minister offered a large grati- 
fication. But nothing c?me of the matter, and the Spanish 
fleet remained blockaded at Cadiz. With the United States 
relations had become very strained. President John 
Adams had sent as envoys to Paris three senators, Pinck- 
ney, Marshall and Gerry, who were presented to Talley- 
rand on the 8 October 1797. ^^ ^^^ beginning of the ne- 
gotiations, Talleyrand discreetly informed the American 
envoys that if they wished for success it would be neces- 
sary to pay him an honorarium of a million francs, and 
to obtain from their Government a large subscription to 

[ 355 ] 


the loan recently offered to cover the expenses of the 
English war. Very much disappointed, Pinckney and his 
followers returned to America, where they published 
the proofs of the venality of Talleyrand. This scandal, 
which was hushed up in France, made a great sensation 
on both sides of the Atlantic. The United States Govern- 
ment issued letters of marque and reprisal, and the 
American corsairs attacked French ships wherever found. 
The French corsairs retaliated, and France and the United 
States were virtually in a state of war. 

When Bonaparte arrived in Paris from the Congress 
of Rastadt, on the fifth of December 1797, he was the 
most powerful and the most popular man in France. 
General-in-chief of the Army of Italy, and commander 
of the Army of England, a position to which he was ap- 
pointed on the 26 October, he had in his hands the su- 
preme control of the military forces of the State j while as 
chief of the French delegation at Rastadt he had charge 
of the principal foreign affairs of the Republic. As the 
Conqueror of Italy, the author of the Treaty of Campo- 
Formio, and the preserver of the Constitution on the day 
of Fructidor, he was admired and loved by all his coun- 

Young, ambitious, rich with the wealth of Italy, he 
naturally aspired to the supreme power in the State. He 
desired nothing more nor less than a revision of the Con- 
stitution in his favor. He wrote: " It is such a great mis- 
fortune for a nation of thirty million inhabitants to be 
obliged to have recourse to bayonets to save the country! '* 
The difficulty was to find a way for him to participate in 
the government. He could not be a Director, because he 
was only twenty-eight, and lacked twelve years of the 
necessary age. The Constitution indeed provided for an 
"assembly of revision," but the necessary formalities 
would take nine years. After mature reflection, he made 
up his mind that the " pear was not yet ripe," and de- 
cided upon an expedition to the Orient. 

In spite of his failure in 1796, Hoche had always be- 



lieved in the possibility of a successful descent upon 
Ireland. At the time of his death he was on his way to 
Holland to arrange for the cooperation of the Dutch 
fleet. This fleet was later completely annihilated by the 
British in the naval battle of Camperdown, on the ii 
October 1797. Nevertheless, the idea of such an expedi- 
tion was not given up. 

In Feburary 1798 Bonaparte made a two weeks' visit of 
inspection to the strong places on the Channel, and on 
his return made a formal report to the Government 
against the project. The Directory was very much sur- 
prised, and still more so when Bonaparte proposed in- 
stead to make a descent upon Egypt. Such was the ascen- 
dancy of Bonaparte, however, that he had little difficulty 
in obtaining the consent of the Directory. Talley- 
rand approved of the plan, and almost the only person 
to raise objections was Reubell. With his usual activity 
Bonaparte immediately took steps to put his plans into 

The preparations were quickly made. The troops de- 
tached from the armies of England, Switzerland, and of 
Italy, to form the Army of the Orient, gathered at the 
ports of Toulon, Genoa and Civita-Vecchia. The Berna- 
dotte episode at Vienna only delayed the departure of 
Bonaparte by a few days. He left Paris the night of the 
third of May, arrived at Toulon the ninth, and embarked 
ten days later. The fleet, under the orders of Brueys, 
comprised 335 vessels of all kinds, of which thirteen 
were ships of the line. The fleet was manned by 16,000 
sailors, and the expeditionary force amounted to 38,000 
men, with 1200 horses and 170 cannon. To accompany 
him, Bonaparte had chosen no less than thirty-two gen- 
erals, and in addition there were 215 civil, scientific, liter- 
ary and artistic collaborateurs. No one except Bonaparte 
knew the destination of the expedition. 

The voyage was very slow and the fleet did not arrive 
before Malta until the ninth of June. The troops disem- 
barked on the tenth, and the following day, after a short 
resistance, the Knights of Saint John surrendered the 

[357 ] 


island. Leaving a small garrison, the expedition then con- 
tinued on its way to Egypt. 

On the evening of the first of July 1798 the fleet 
anchored off Alexandria. The troops disembarked during 
the night, and the following day took Alexandria by 

Egypt at that time was nominally under the sover- 
eignty of Turkey, but the country was really dominated 
by the Mamelukes, who were commanded by two beys, 
Murad and Ibrahim. 

Leaving a garrison of 3000 men at Alexandria, with 
his flotilla Bonaparte began the ascent of the Nile, the 
troops marching parallel to the river. En route, an at- 
tack of the Mamelukes was easily defeated, and on the 
2T July the French arrived in view of the Pyramids, on 
the opposite side of the river from Cairo. On that day 
was fought the celebrated battle of the Pyramids in which 
Bonaparte decisively defeated the Mamelukes. Murad 
retired to the south, to Upper Egypt, and Ibrahim fled 
to the north towards Syria. Two days after the battle the 
French took possesion of Cairo In all of these encounters, 
Bonaparte had arranged his troops in a souare. Each co^ps 
was drawn up in lines six deep on the sides, the artillery 
at the angles, the oflicers, the cavalry and the baggage 
in the centre. The French reserved their fire until the 
enemy was within fifty paces, and the cavalry of the 
Mamelukes hurled themselves in vain against the wall 
of bayonets. 

On returning to Cairo, after pursuing Ibrahim into the 
Syrian desert, Bonaparte learned of the destruction of his 
fleet: a terrible and unexpected blow. Before leading 
Alexandria he had given orders to Brueys to report to him 
whether it was possible for the French fleet to enter the 
harbor of Alexandria, and, if not, whether it could re- 
main safely at anchor at Aboukir. If neither of these 
courses was practicable, the admiral was to sail for Corfu. 
Brueys found that the harbor was too shallow to admit 
the larger French vessels, but thought he could remain 
safely in the roadstead of Aboukir. 



On the second of May Nelson had been detached from 
the fleet that was blockading Cadiz, to go in search of 
information regarding the preparations at Toulon. He 
arrived off that port on the 1 7 May, but was driven out to 
sea by an adverse wind, and was not able to return until 
ten days after the departure of the French expedition. He 
immediately started in pursuit, but, with his faster vessels, 
he passed the French fleet during the night, and arrived 
at Alexandria two days before Bonaparte. Not finding 
the expedition there he set sail for Corfu, and it was not 
until the latter part of July that he learned of the arrival 
of the French in Egypt. 

The English fleet was signalled about two o'clock on 
the afternoon of the first of August, and the attack began 
about five o'clock. The French vessels were anchored in 
a line parallel to the coast, and were not able to manoeu- 
vre. Nelson ordered some of his vessels to sail between the 
French fleet and the shore, and Brueys was therefore 
taken between two fires. The French resisted bravely but 
their fleet was almost entirely destroyed, and the admiral 
was killed at his post. Two vessels only, which were placed 
at the end of the line, and had not participated in the 
combat, succeeded in making their escape, under the com- 
mand of Villeneuve. More than 5500 French were killed, 
wounded, or made prisoners. It was the greatest British 
victory since the commencement of the war. 

Undaunted by this terrible blow, Bonaparte proceeded 
with his plans for the subjection of Egypt. Desaix was 
sent to occupy Upper Egypt, and during a period o^ 
nearly eight months he was engaged in the pursuit o^ 
different bands of Mamelukes under the command of 
Murad. In Syria, Ahmed Pasha, called Djezzar (" the 
butcher"), on account of his cruelty, governed the dis- 
trict in the name of the Sultan. He had received Turkish 
reenforcements, and had been joined by Ibrahim with 
his Mamelukes; and he was now determined to reconauer 
Egypt. As usual, Bonaparte decided th^t attack was the 
best form of defence. The Syrian expedition had no other 
object. It is not possible that Bonaparte had any idea of 

[ 359 ] 


returning to Europe by way of Constantinople, or of in- 
vading India, both of which chimerical projects have been 
attributed to him. 

The Syrian expeditionary force was made up of about 
I3,CXX) men. In rapid succession, it took El-Arich, which 
was defended by Ibrahim 5 Gaza, where a large supply of 
provisions was found j and Jaffa. It only remained to oc- 
cupy Saint-Jean-d'Acre. But on the 14 March (four days 
before the arrival of Bonaparte), Djezzar had been re- 
enforced by a small British squadron commanded by Sid- 
ney Smith, who was accompanied by Napoleon Bonaparte's 
old enemy, Phelippeaux, who, it will be remembered, had 
assisted Smith to escape from prison at Paris. A siege 
train, which Bonaparte had sent by sea to Acre, had been 
captured by Smith, and his guns were now mounted 
against him on the walls of the city. The defence was or- 
ganized by the former comrade of Bonaparte, and the 
first French assault on the 28 March failed. A Turkish 
army which had marched from Damascus to the relief of 
the city was easily defeated and dispersed at the battle of 
Mont-Tabor in April. 

In the meantime the siege of Acre dragged on; and 
several new attempts to take the place by storm, during 
the first weeks of May, resulted in failure. On the 20 
May, Bonaparte was obliged to raise the siege, and set 
out on his return to Egypt. 

The French had hardly reached Cairo on their return 
when news was received that an Anglo-Turkish fleet 
under the command of Sidney Smith had appeared at 
the mouths of the Nile and disembarked a Turkish army 
of 1 8,000 men. Marmont was in command of Alexandria 
with 4500 troops, and Bonaparte collected every available 
man and rushed to his assistance. The enemy was already 
investing Alexandria when he arrived. On the 25 July at 
Aboukir he defeated and entirely destroyed the Turkish 

After the victory, while arranging an exchange of pris- 
oners with Sidney Smith, Bonaparte sent him some coffee 
and cognac, and in return the admiral sent Bonaparte a 



batch of recent English newspapers. From these papers 
Bonaparte learned for the first time of the formation of 
the Second Coalition, of the French reverses in Italy, and 
of the utter disorganization of the government of the 
Directory at Paris. The pacification of Egypt was practi- 
cally completed, and he decided that it was his duty under 
the circumstances to return to France. He gave orders to 
prepare two frigates, and on the 24 August secretly em- 
barked with a number of his companions-in-arms, in- 
cluding Berthier, Lannes, Marmont, and Muratj his sec- 
retary, Bourrienne, and Eugene de Beauharnais. He left 
the French troops in Egypt under the command of 
Kleber. The secret departure of Bonaparte for France 
has frequently been compared by his foes to desertion in 
the face of the enemy, but the Directory had already, on 
the 26 May 1799, instructed the general to return to 
France, leaving behind him, under the orders of a chief 
of his selection, a part of the expeditionary force to main- 
tain the occupation of the country. It is not positively 
known whether, owing to the interruption of communi- 
cations by the British cruisers, this order ever reached 
Bonaparte J but whether it did or not, the situation in 
France certainly demanded his return at the earliest pos- 
sible date. 

The results of Nelson's victory at Aboukir were very 
serious for France. During the months of December and 
January, treaties of alliance were signed between Eng- 
land, Russia, Turkey, and Naples, with the idea of re- 
sisting further French aggrandizements. The objects of 
the coalition were: to drive the French from Italy j to 
return to Austria her lost provinces j to restore Holland 
to the House of Orange j and to confine France within her 
ancient limits — without the left bank of the Rhine, and 
without Savoie and Nice. In the beginning, the Second 
Coalition only included the four Powers above named: 
Prussia still remained neutral; and Bavaria, under the 
new elector, Maximilian-Joseph, leaned towards France, 
through fear of Austria. A project, conceived by Talley- 

- [ 361 ] 


rand at the end of 1798, for a league of German princes, 
similar to the Confederation of the Rhine formed by 
Napoleon eight years later, was not favored by Sieyes at 
Berlin, and came to nothing. 

The Czar moved at once, and on the sixth of December 
the first Russian army entered Moravia. A month later 
at Vienna the troops were passed in solemn review by the 
Emperor, who demanded as a favor of the Czar that the 
supreme command of the forces to operate against France 
in Italy should be confided to Souvarof. The Czar con- 
sented, and Souvarof set out for Vienna on the first of 
March, to rejoin his army, which had already debouched 
by the Tyrol into Italy. 

In the meantime the deliberations of the Congress of 
Rastadt drew out their weary length. The Directory was 
sincerely in favor of peace, and during the last weeks 
had secretly informed the Court of Vienna that it was 
ready to make lar^e concessions if the army of the Czar 
would return to Russia. The French Government even 
went so far as to agree to cede the Leeations to Austria, 
to evacuate Rome and Switzerland, and to open negoti- 
ations with England and Turkey for peace. Before the 
disaster 0^ Aboukir this program undoubtedly would have 
assured general peace, but now the Czar " had taken the 
bit between his teeth," and with the puerile vanity of a 
half-idiot he thought himself the arbiter of the world. 

France did not declare war until 12 March 17OQ, b"t 
on the first of that month the French trooDS had crossed 
to the right bank of the Rhine, and on the third the Arch- 
duke Charles had passed the Lech. The Coros Lee^islatif 
declared that the Republic was " at war with the Emneror, 
Kine: of Hungary and of Bohemia, and the Grand Duke 
of Tuscany." Nevertheless, the brother of the Emneror 
had in no manner acted against France. At the end o^ 
March the French troops entered Florence, and the Grand 
Duke left for Vienna. 

To the south of Tuscany, the Neapolitan invasion of 
Rome resulted in a French expedition to Naples. On the 
22 December the Court embarked for Sicily, and the 

[ 362 ] 


French commander set up a provisional republican gov- 

The first military operations against Austria resulted 
in no advantage in Germany, or in Switzerland, and dis- 
astrously in Italy. The Army of the Rhine under Berna- 
dotte and the Army of the Danube under Jourdan, by a 
concentrated movement had crossed the Rhine on the same 
day, the first of March. Jourdan traversed the Black 
Forest and reached the sources of the Danube. He ad- 
vanced very slowly, as he wished to keep in touch with 
Bernadotte on his left, and Massena on his right, in 
Switzerland. He finally came in contact with the Arch- 
duke Charles on the 21 March, was defeated, and obliged 
to retreat. Bernadotte at the same time fell back on the 
Rhine } and the two generals caused a public scandal by 
leaving their retreating armies and returning to Paris to 
indulge in mutual recriminations. In the meantime Mas- 
sena in Switzerland had obtained no decisive success. 

The most arduous task was that allotted to Scherer in 
Italy. He was opposed by Kray at Verona, and after mak- 
ing^ several unsuccessful and costly attempts to cross the 
Adige, he ordered a retreat. The last week in April he 
resis^ned his commission, and the command of the Army 
of Italy was given to Moreau. Kray did not attempt to 
pursue the French, but awaited at Verona the arrival of 
his chief, Melas, who in turn was looking for the ap- 
pearance of the supreme general Souvarof, with 30,000 
Russians. On the arrival of the Russians, the French were 
attacked and defeated along the line of the Adda, and 
were unable even to hold Milan, which Souvarof entered 
on the 28 April. 

In Switzerland, Massena retreated slowly before the 
Archduke Charles until he reached Zurich, where he had 
previously established a line of entrenchments. Here the 
first week in June there was a conflict which was known as 
the first battle of Zurich. Half of Switzerland was in the 
hands of the enemy, but the prudent defensive tactics of 
Massena had kept the French forces concentrated and 
well in hand. 

[ 3^3 ] 


The internal political incidents in France, such as the 
replacement of Reubell by Sieyes in the Directory on the 
1 6 May, and the coup d'etat of the 30 Prairial, the 18 
June, had no other effect on the conduct of the war than 
a change in personnel. Bernadotte became Minister of 
War and Joubert and Moreau obtained the commands 
of the armies of Italy and of the Rhine, but it was ar- 
ranged that Moreau should remain temporarily in an 
advisory capacity with Joubert. The new commander-in- 
chief arrived in Italy on the second of August, and on 
the fifteenth was defeated by Souvarof at Novi, where 
he lost his life. Joubert was young, only thirtyj hand- 
some, high-spirited; and yet circumspect. Just before 
leaving Paris he married Mile, de Montholon, the step- 
daughter of Semonville. The defeat at Novi was de- 
cisive, and Genoa was the only point which remained in 
French hands. Italy was lost, and the general situation 
seemed desperate. In Holland, Brune with 17,000 men 
confronted 40,000 English and Russian troops; in Ger- 
many there was no French army at all ; the entire frontier 
from Belgium to Nice was threatened. 

There were now two manners in which the enemy could 
exploit their victory: invade France, as Souvarof wished, 
or complete the conquest of Italy, to reestablish the 
domination of Austria. The Aulic Council naturally chose 
the political rather than the military solution of the 
problem, and it was decided on the 31 July to place 
Melas in supreme command in Italy and to transfer Sou- 
varof and his Russians to Switzerland. The French had 
already been compelled to abandon Naples, and the Aus- 
trians had commenced the occupation of Tuscany. After 
the departure of Moreau for the Rhine the French had 
been driven back into Genoa. The Republic, which in 
January entirely dominated the Peninsula, had entirely 
lost it in December, and the power of Austria in Italy 
had never been so great. 

At the same time that Souvarof was sent to Switzer- 
land, the Aulic Council decided to transfer the Archduke 
Charles to Germany to protect the line of the Rhine. 




The Archduke set out the last of August, but contented 
himself with holding the French army along the Rhine. 
In Holland, Brune, notwithstanding his numerical infe- 
riority, gained several victories over the Allies and com- 
pelled the Duke of York to evacuate the country and 
return to England. Finally, in Switzerland, Massena, in 
an admirable series of manoeuvres and combats, to which 
has sometimes been given the name of the second battle 
of Zurich, defeated the Russians and compelled them to 
retire in disorder to the other side of the Rhine. 

The Russian troops had been everywhere defeated, but 
Austria, whose only aim was to reestablish her domina- 
tion in Italy, was everywhere victorious. The Czar, beaten 
and tricked, could not conceal his disgust. The last of 
October he recalled the remnants of his armies, and sus- 
pended military operations. The offensive force of the 
Coalition was spent, and the Coalition itself already gave 
signs of disintegration. 




The News of Bonaparte's Return — Political Changes during His 
Absence — Coups d'l^.tat of Florial and Prairial — The New 
Directors — Changes in the Ministry — Bonaparte Arrives at 
Paris — His Reconciliation with Josephine — Attitude of the 
Directory — Bonaparte's Plans — Position of Barras — Bona- 
parte Joins Hands with Sieyes — Details of* the Plot — Bona- 
parte's Adroit Policy — Support of the Army — The Doubtful 
Generals — The Ministers — Banquet of the Councils — Jour- 
dan Dines with Bonaparte — The Final Orders — Josephine 
Invites Gohier to Dejeuner 

ON the 19 Vendemiaire of the Year Eight of the 
Republic, " one and indivisible," the Cinq-Cents 
were in session in their new hall in the Palais- 
Bourbon. Suddenly one of the messengers of the Gov- 
ernment made his appearance, and the business of the day 
was suspended for a moment to listen to his announce- 
ment : " Citizens ! The Directory informs you with pleas- 
ure that it has received news from Egypt. On the 
seventeenth of this month General Berthier landed at 
Frejus with General Bonaparte. . . ." Nobody listened 
to the rest. In a moment the deputies were on their feet, 
shouting and cheering, while the galleries rang with ap- 
plause. The session was at once adjourned, and the depu- 
ties and spectators spread to every part of Paris to tell 
the great news. Within an hour, military bands were play- 
ing martial airs in the streets j all business was suspended, 
and Paris was making holiday. That evening in every 
theatre an actor came on the stage and announced the 
great news amidst the wild plaudits of the audience. 
During the seventeen months that Bonaparte was ab- 



sent in Egypt, there had been many changes in the in- 
ternal politics of France, but they were of comparatively 
small importance, and possess little interest for the 
general reader: they can therefore be treated very briefly. 

As the result of the coup d'etat of the 22 Florial (11 
May 1798), Treilhard was elected director in place of 
Frangois de Neufchateau, who had been designated by 
lot to retire from the Directory. Aged fifty-five years, 
he had already sat in the Constituent Assembly, and in 
the Convention, where he had voted in favor of the death 
of the King, but with recommendation of suspension of 
sentence. He had been elected to the Cinq-Cents, and his 
term had not expired until the 20 May 1797. As the Con- 
stitution provided that no deputy could become director 
or minister until one year after the expiration of his 
legislative functions, at the time he was chosen he lacked 
four days of being eligible. 

On the ninth of May 1799 Reubell was selected by lot 
to retire and Sieyes was chosen in his place. The loss of 
Reubell was a severe blow to the Government, as during 
the absence of Bonaparte, even with Talleyrand as Min- 
ister of Foreign Affairs, he had little by little resumed the 
direction of the external policy of France. A month 
later Sieyes returned from Berlin to take up his new 
duties. His election had been generally opposed by his 
colleagues in the Directory, and from the first he showed 
his hostility to the Government, which he wished to over- 
throw. For this purpose, he needed the assistance of a 
military man, and his first choice was Joubert. But 
the death of this general at the battle of Novi on the 
15 August necessitated a change in his plans, and 
he made overtures to Moreau, who did not prove very 

On the 17 June, an act was passed by the Corps 
Legislatif annulling the election of Treilhard as being 
unconstitutional. At the Luxembourg, Merlin and La 
Revelliere were in favor of resisting the decree, but 
Barras joined hands with Sieyes, and Treilhard yielded. 
He left the palace and returned as a simple citizen to 



his former home. The same day, Gohier was chosen in 
his place. Gohier was a personal friend of Garat, of 
whom he had been at one time the secretary, and then 
the successor as Minister of Justice. He was now judge 
of the Tribunal de Cassation. He was a sincere repub- 
lican, and a man of probity, but without much political 

The following day, the i8 June 1799, occurred the 
coup d'etat of the 30 Prairial. At a session of the Cinq- 
Cents, two of the Directors, Merlin and La Revelliere, 
were denounced by name. Barras at once took steps to 
avert a crisis. Aided by Sieyes he succeeded in convinc- 
ing the two directors that it was advisable for them to 
resign. Roger Ducos was elected as successor to Merlin, 
and General Moulin in place of La Revelliere. The 
Directory was now made up of Barras, Sieyes, Gohier, 
Ducos, and Moulin. 

Moulin, an engineer officer, had volunteered in 1791, 
and had gained his grade of general in La Vendee. In 
1794— 1795 he had brilliantly commanded in chief the 
Army of the Alps. Since the month of October 1798 he 
had been in command of the Army of England, with 
headquarters at Rennes. 

The break in the Directory naturally resulted in the 
reorganization of the ministry, the principal changes 
being the appointment of Bernadotte as Minister of War, 
and the retirement of Talleyrand from the depart- 
ment of Foreign Affairs. At the same time, Cambaceres 
took the Justice, Lindet the Finances, and Fouche the 

The coup d'etat of Prairial had, in a way, been similar 
to a change of ministers in England, as it had modified 
the whole personnel of the government of the Republic, 
and brought the Directory and the Ministry into harmony 
with the majority in the two Councils. It was by nature 
parliamentary, because the executive was subordinated to 
the majority of the Chambers. But it was extra-consti- 
tutional because the Constitution of the Year Three did 
not recognize anything of the kind. 



Bonaparte landed at Frejus on the morning of the 
ninth of October, and immediately left for Paris. He 
travelled post-haste, as was his usual custom, only stop- 
ping for a night at Lyon, where he attended the theatre. 
His journey was one long ovation — never had he been 
received with so much enthusiasm, even on the occasion of 
his return from Italy two years before. He arrived at 
Paris early on the sixteenth and went at once to his little 
hotel in the Rue de la Victoire, where he found no one 
to receive him. 

Shortly after the departure of Bonaparte for Egypt, 
Josephine had purchased the beautiful estate of Mal- 
maison, near Rueil, a few miles from Paris. Here, during 
the absence of her husband, a certain young officer by the 
name of Charles had ruled almost as lord and master. 
Rumors of this state of affairs had reached Bonaparte 
even in Egypt and excited his jealousy to the last degree. 
All the way from Frejus he had carried a bleeding heart 
in his breast, and it was his fixed intention on his arrival 
at Paris to put an end to his dishonor by a divorce. 

On hearing of his return, Josephine, in her terror, had 
hastened to meet and pacify him before he could see his 
brothers, but she took the wrong route, and missed him 
entirely. On her return, two days later, Bonaparte locked 
the door of his room and refused to see her. At the sug- 
gestion of a friend, she sent for her children, Eugene 
and Hortense, who joined their supplications to her own, 
and finally Bonaparte relented and took Josephine to his 
arms. He had made up his mind to forgive, even if he 
could not forget. From the worldly point of view, it was 
a wise decision on his part. During his absence, in spite 
of his orders to Josephine not to mingle in public affairs, 
she had manoeuvred like a skilled diplomatist, and had 
well prepared the path for his return. She was on more 
than intimate terms with her old lover Barras, and with 
Gohier, the new president of the Directory, who was try- 
ing to supplant the ex-vicomte in her affections. Her 
relations were also very cordial with Talleyrand, 
Fouche, Cambaceres, and many others, whose support 



was necessary to the success of his plans. It is possible 
that without the tact of Josephine, the day of the 
19 Brumaire might have been as fatal to his fortunes 
as that of the 9 Thermidor had been to those of Robes- 

On the 17 October, the day after his return to Paris, 
Bonaparte made his official visit to the Directory. He was 
a strange-looking figure, attired in civilian dress, a round 
hat and olive-green coat, and it was not easy to recognize 
him, all the more so because during his absence in Egypt 
he had cut off his long hair. But the soldiers on guard 
knew him at once and presented arms. Gohier, who 
was in the chair, gave him a cordial welcome. On his 
departure he was cheered by the crowd outside the 

In the Directory, Ducos was allied with Sieyes, who 
desired a change in the Constitution, while Gohier and 
Moulin thought that Bonaparte ought to take a military 
command. Barras, as usual, occupied a neutral position. 
Of the five directors elected in 1795, he was the only 
one who still remained in office j but his term would expire 
in six months, in May 1 800, and he could not be reelected 
until after an interval of five years. At the age of forty- 
four he was too fond of power to leave it without regret. 
It was evident that he would be willing to do almost 
anything to retain a permanent position in the Govern- 
ment. He thought that he could easily come to an under- 
standing with Bonaparte. Since 1795, when he had 
associated Bonaparte with him in the command of the 
Army of the Interior, they had always been on excellent 

Bonaparte returned with the intention of overthrowing 
the Directory and taking possession of the supreme power 
of the State. To attain this result, a new revolution seemed 
to him necessary 5 but, realizing how much the public was 
disgusted with violent measures, he dreamed of a peace- 
ful change of government, which would be brought about 
almost without eflFort, by the weight of public opinion. 
He intended that the troops, called upon to cooperate 

I 370 ] 


in the movement, should act only in the last extremity, 
and then under the orders of the civil authorities; that 
any illegality should be carefully veiled, and that the 
transition from the old to the new regime should be 
apparent only when the public realized the benefits of the 

His first thought was to have himself named a member 
of the Directory: it would be easier to strike the blow 
from the inside than from the outside of the Government. 
It would not be difficult to persuade one of the five Di- 
rectors to resign in his favor. To be sure, the Constitution 
required that the Directors should be forty years of age, 
and he was only thirty, but this difficulty might possibly 
be overcome. This plan, however, was soon abandoned, 
on account of the constitutional scruples of some of his 
advisers, and perhaps also from his desire to have a more 
undivided authority. He decided to take advantage of 
the preparations already made by those Directors and 
deputies who for five months had been paving the way 
for a change in the government. Up to the present time 
they had not been able to find the man to carry out their 
plans. Now that Bonaparte had appeared, they would 
doubtless consent to join their forces to his on condition 
of remaining in the affair and sharing the benefits. 

Nevertheless, Bonaparte hesitated, on account of his 
personal antipathy for Sieyes. With his straightforward 
nature, he could not endure a man who was always en- 
veloped in a cloud. For this reason he acted with extreme 
reserve, and made no advances to Sieyes. The latter, for 
his part, had too high an opinion of his own importance 
to make the first move, and his example was followed 
by Ducos. 

In the meantime Bonaparte called on Barras, although 
he could not have considered seriously the idea of relying 
upon his support. Sieyes had behind him a party; but 
Barras had only a court, and what a court! By Barras he 
was received with open arms. The ex-vicomte already 
had visions of a republic like the American, with himself 
as president, and Bonaparte as commander of the armies. 



His vanity refused to abandon to Bonaparte the first 
place. He could not admit the idea of this little man, 
whom he had known obscure and miserable, whose foot 
he had placed in the stirrup, being at the head of the 
French Government. 

It did not take long for Bonaparte to divine the schemes 
of Barras, which did not at all accord with his own. He 
also soon realized how low the Director had fallen in 
public opinion J and he decided to break with the man who 
personified all the corruption of the directorial regime. 
On the other hand, he became convinced that Sieyes and 
his adherents represented all that was best in the govern- 
ment, and formed a solid fo'tnt d^appuL Finally, through 
the astute diplomacy of Talleyrand, who arranged the 
" protocole," the two parties v/ere brought together. 
Under date of the 2 Brumaire the journals announced 
that, " Bonaparte called yesterday on the Directors Sieyes 
and Roger Ducos "5 and the following day it was re- 
ported that these two Directors had returned the visit. 

The ice once broken, it was not diflicult to reach an 
understanding. It was agreed on both sides that France 
was neither administered nor governed, and that the situ- 
ation of the Republic demanded a change in the Con- 
stitution. Bonaparte employed all of his resources of se- 
duction, and easily won Sieyes with a little flattery. " We 
have no government," said he, " because we have no 
constitution, or at least not the constitution that we need: 
your e^enius must give us one." Sieyes promised to second 
his plans, provided that the end in view was to save the 
country and assure liberty. There the matter was left for 
the present: in public they continued to affect a marked 
coldness, while common friends acted as emissaries. 

His decision once made, Bonaparte acted in conjunction 
with Sieyes and the friendly faction of the Councils. 
He was determined to eliminate Barras, and only kept 
up his relations with him in order to deceive him, and 
not arouse his hostility. In spite of his venality, Barras 
still retained a certain prestige. During all the changes 
of the oast three years he was the only Director who had 


guarded his office, and, in the eyes of many functionaries, 
both civil and military, he represented more than any one 
else the Government, It was therefore important not to 
incur his ill will, and he seems to have been an easy dupe. 

Until Bonaparte had fully decided to break with Barras, 
he concealed his plans from Lucien, who was a close 
friend of Sieyesj but during the final days his brother 
took an active part in the conferences. It was in his pres- 
ence, and in his little hotel in the Rue Verte, that during 
the night of the tenth Bonaparte and Sieyes had a long 
secret interview in which they came to a definite under- 

Sieyes brought into the alliance his colleaQ:ue Roger 
Ducos, and his supporters in the Anciens and the Cinq- 
Cents: in short, all his parliamentary forces. This party 
was not important numerically, but it was thought that 
it could bring to its support nearly all of the members of 
the upper chamber, and perhans a maioritv o^ the lower 
house, under the leadership of its new president, Lucien 
Bonaparte. Outside of the Government, they also felt sure 
of the support of the solid class of the rentterSy who 
desired a stable government. 

As soon as Bonaparte and Sieyes were in accord, events 
moved rapidly. By the end of the first decade o^ Bru- 
maire all of the details of the plot were arranfred. and 
in ten days more the coup d^etat was carried ouf. Bona- 
parte had no plans to form: he had onlv to puf* \r\^(> eve- 
cution the project already studied and matured by Sieyes 
and his associates. 

The keynote of this plan was to employ the provisions 
of the existing Constitution for its own destruction. Three 
articles of the organic law gave to the Anciens the sover- 
eign right, in case of necessitv, to chanfye the place of 
meeting of the Corps Legislatif. It was decided to make 
use of this prerogative to transfer the Councils to Saint- 
Cloud, where it would be easier to extort from the two 
assemblies a vote in favor of a revision of the Const-ifu- 
tion and the creation of a new executive power. This 
scheme had the advantage of depriving the Jacobins in 



the Five-Hundred of their popular support at Paris j but 
it also had the drawback of prolonging the coup d'etat 
over a period of two days, and giving the opposition time 
to rally its forces. Nevertheless, the former consideration 
seemed to have more weight: the conspirators did not real- 
ize how little interest the Faubourgs now took in politics. 

Bonaparte admired the plan, and gave it his entire ap- 
proval: he declared that he was ready to risk his prestige 
to see so fine a project carried out. The idea of changing 
the place of meeting was therefore adopted 5 but it was 
necessary to allege a motive, or a pretext of public danger. 
This was easily found in the machinations of the Jacobins, 
who for several months had been plotting a revolution, 
and only waited for the occasion and the man. Proofs, 
indeed, were lacking, but the Revolutionary vocabulary 
lent itself readily to vague accusations, and words which 
carried terror to the minds of the people. 

It was therefore arranged that, on the first day, the 
Anciens, called in extraordinary session, and confronted 
with the report of an anarchist conspirarcy, should de- 
cree the transfer to Saint-Cloud. Then, by a stretch of 
their constitutional powers, under pretext of assuring the 
execution of the decree, Bonaparte was to be invested 
with the supreme command of all the troops in the canital. 

Sieyes and Ducos were associated in the plot, and the 
disintegration of the Directory was to be furthered bv 
forcing Barras to send in his resignation. There would 
then remain only Gohier, who could be bought off, and 
Moulin, who was a cipher. It would not be necessary to 
overthrow the Executive: it would dissolve of its own 

The two Councils, meeting the second day at Saint- 
Cloud, under the guard and the restraint of the troops, 
would vote in favor of the change in the government. 
The conspirators hoped that it would not be necessary to 
adopt extreme measures, and that any opposition in the 
Cinq-Cents would yield to the pressure of public opinion. 

As to the exact form of the new regime, there was no 
definite plan. This indecision necessitated a temporary 



government, to cover the period of transition. The ex- 
ecutive power would be entrusted to three Consuls, with 
a small parliamentary bodyj and a commission would be 
appointed to draft a new constitution, to be ratified later by 
a plebiscite. For the three provisional Consuls, the names 
of Bonaparte, Sieyes and Ducos were selected. Further 
details were left to be decided by the course of events. 
Bonaparte was careful to conceal his hand, and Sieyes 
was confident that he would be able to dominate the new 
government. He was the dupe of his pride, as much as 
Barras was of his vanity. 

While working with the chiefs of the revolutionary 
complot, Bonaparte did not neglect the adverse parties. 
He made use of all without committing himself to any. 
At a later date he said : " I received the chiefs of the 
Jacobins, the agents of the Bourbons; I refused the coun- 
sels of no one, but I gave no advice except in the interest 
of mv plans. Every one thought that he had an iron in 
the fire, and, when I became head of the State, there was 
not in France a party which did not feel pleased with my 

Returning home one day, about the lO Brumaire, after 
a lone conference with Sieyes, he found the card of Jour- 
dan. This general had come to urge him to participate in a 
coup d'etat with the Jacobins, and for their benefit. His 
call was the result of an agreement reached at a confer- 
ence held at the home of Bernadotte, where Augereau 
and other chiefs of the party were present. Bonaparte 
replied by sending Duroc with an invitation for the gen- 
eral to dine with him on the evening of the i6 Brumaire, 
which Jourdan accepted. 

It did not require any particular effort to secure the en- 
thusiastic support of the troops stationed at Paris. Aside 
from the guards of the Directory and the Councils, about 
fifteen hundred in number, the garrison of the capital 
comDrised a little over seven thousand men. Most of these 
soldiers had served under Bonaparte, and for them he 
was the " God of War," the man who could perform mir- 
acles, who gave his troops at the same time glory, and 



riches, and material comforts. The cavalry regiments 
seemed particularly sure — especially the Ninth Dra- 
goons, commanded by the Corsican Sebastiani, who 
served Bonaparte fanatically, through spirit of clan. 

Among the generals who might be centres of opposition 
were Moreau, Augereau, Bernadotte and Jourdan. 
Moreau was generally considered the second soldier of 
the Republic, but he had more prestige than popularity, 
and was not regarded as dangerous. Before Bonaparte's 
return from Egypt he had never met Moreau personally. 
Gohier, the president of the Directory, was the medium 
of bringing them together after a dinner at his house on 
the 30 Vendemiaire. Bonaparte, with much tact, remarked 
to Moreau: " General, I had several of your lieutenants 
with me in Egypt, and thev were very distinguished 
officers." The praise was indirect and the compliment 
adroit. A few days later, Bonaparte completed the con- 
quest of Moreau by sending him a sabre enriched with 
diamonds. While keeping aloof from the preliminary 
intrigues, Moreau declared himself ready to march at 
the word of command. His secret thought was that Bona- 
parte, his principal rival, might become immeshed in 
politics, and leave to him the command of the armies. 
Augereau also gave but little anxiety. He was a man of 
imposing personal appearanr^ and martial air, but of lim- 
ited intelligence, and incapable of taking a decisive stand. 
Lucien assured his associates that this matamore (bully) 
would obey orders. 

With Bernadotte the situation v^as much mo'-e co»^pli- 
cated. During his recent administration of the War Office, 
he had been in the lime-li,8:ht, and he had no idea now of 
playing a secondary role. Astute, calm, selfish, calculating, 
of more polished manners than most of the generals, he 
had considerable powers of command, and real element's 
of popularity. Although classed as a Jacobin, he seemed, 
more than the others, to belong amone: the adherents of 
Bonaparte, from the fact that he had married Desiree 
Clary, the sister-in-law of Joseph. But no one was less 
sure than this relative by marriage who regretted that he 



had not seized the supreme power when he was 
Minister of War. 

Bonaparte endeavored in every possible way to assure 
his support, but all in vain. Bernadotte attended all the 
family reunions, the dinners and the country excursions 5 
he invited the Bonapartes to his house, and showed him- 
self an admirable hostj but he refused absolutely to com- 
mit himself in any respect. For the moment he remained 
on the outside. 

Nothing was to be feared from the other generals: 
Macdonald and Serurier had offered their services 5 
Lefebvre, the commandant of Paris, was ready to follow 
Bonaparte as soon as he was appointed to the supreme 
command by decree of the Anciens. The aides de cn^n und 
generals brought back from Egypt proved excellent in- 
termediaries with those officers who had not voluntarily 
come to the support of Bonaparte. Leclerc, the husband 
of Pauline, and Murat, who hoped to marry Caroline, 
were particularly useful in this connection. 

It is certain that large sums of money were employed, 
but it is not known from what source these funds were 
secured. Bonaparte had brought back several millions 
from Italy, but during his absence in the Orient, his 
fortune had been entrusted to Joseph, who had used it 
as a common purse for the whole family. Both he and 
Lucien had purchased handsome estates, and had lived 
like princes. According to current reports. Napoleon, on his 
return, had found Josephine heavily in debt, and no funds 
at his disposal. A contractor named Collot, who had made 
a fortune in Italy, is said to have advanced half a million j 
but the great bankers do not seem to have financed the 

Among the ministers, Cambaceres brought the sup- 
port of his great influence j Lindet and Dubois-Crance 
remained neutral. The others, with the exception of 
Fouche, were of no account. The number of those who 
were in the full confidence of Bonaparte and Sieyes was 
very limited, and of the final plans Fouche knew very 
little. He was distrusted on account of his close intimacy 



with Barras. Besides, Fouche did not solicit confidences, 
and preferred to maintain a neutral position — ready to 
give his adherence to whichever party gained the day. 

On the 15 Brumaire a subscription dinner was given 
by members of the two Councils to the two illustrious 
generals then present in Paris, Bonaparte and Moreau. 
The banquet took place in the Church of Saint-Sulpice, 
transformed since the Revolution into the Temple de la 
Victoire. A large crowd had gathered outside of the 
church, principally from curiosity to see Bonaparte. When 
he arrived in his carriage at six o'clock, the hour set for 
the dinner, he was greeted with cries of " Vive Bo- 
naparte' La paix! La paix! " 

The No^^ember fog had penetrated the church, and the 
air was cold and damp. The atmosphere of the banquet 
was equally glacial. Every one remarked the absence of 
Augereau, Bernadotte and Jourdan. Bonaparte ate but 
little, pnd onV drank the wine brought by an aide de 
camp. He was the first to leave, followed by Moreau. 

The next day, Jourdan came to his house for dinner, 
as arranged, and the two generals had a long conversa- 
tion during the evening. Jourdan stated that he despaired 
of the future of the country unless there was a change in 
the government, and that he and his friends were ready 
to rally to Bonaparte provided they were assured that the 
modifications in the Constitution did not violate the es- 
sential principles of representative government, and of 
liberty and equality. 

Such is Jourdan's own report of the conversation; but 
the Jacobin general omits to state that he received from 
Bonaparte personal guaranties, which account for his 
actions on the two days of the coup d'etat. 

The day of the 17 Brumaire was employed by Bona- 
parte in giving the final instructions. As it was important 
to have the troops on hand at an early hour, Colonel 
Sebastian! was invited to be present on horseback at the 
hotel in the Rue de la Victoire at five o'clock in the morn- 
ing, with two hundred dragoons of his regiment. At day- 
break, Sebastiani was to set his men in motion, giving as 




an excuse to his officers the report of a review commanded 
in honor of Bonaparte. Part of his troops were to be sta- 
tioned on the Place de la Concorde, and others were to go 
to Bonaparte's house. 

In spite of all the precautions which had been taken, it 
was impossible to prevent rumors of all these preparations 
from reaching the ears of the three Directors who were 
not in the secret. Barras received warnings, but ignored 
them J also Gohier and Moulin, who did not believe the 
reports. In order to keep Gohier out of the way on the 
critical day, Bonaparte took advantage of his infatuation 
for Josephine, and had his wife invite the Director to 
breakfast. After sending Caroline and Hortense to 
Madame Campan's school at Saint-Germain, at midnight 
she wrote, and sent by Eugene to the Luxembourg, a 
short note, of which the facsimile has been preserved: 

" Venez, mon cher Gohier, et votre femme, dejeuner 
avec moi demain a huit heures du matin. N'y manquez pasj 
j'ai a causer avec vous sur des choses tr^s interressantes. 
Adieu, mon cher Gohier. Comptez tou jours sur ma sin- 
cere amitie. 

" Lapagerie-Bonaparte.*' 

Up to the last moment, no ruse was spared to deceive 
Barras and Gohier. Bonaparte even invited himself for 
dinner at the apartment of the president of the Directory 
. . . for the 1 8 Brumaire! " In the case of a conspiracy," 
he said later, " everything is permitted." 

At two o'clock in the morning, Bonaparte sent word to 
Moreau, Macdonald and Lefebvre to come to his hotel on 
horseback at daybreak j the other officers had already been 
notified. All the preparations were now completed, and it 
only remained to carry out the project. 




Meeting of the Inspectors — Session of the Anciens — The Decree 
Voted — The Generals at Bonaparte's House — He Leaves for 
the Tuileries — The Morning at the Luxembourg — Bonaparte 
at the Tuileries — His Famous Apostrophe — Session of the 
Cinq-Cents — Josephine and Mme. Gohier — Resignation of 
Barras — The Ministers pt the Tuileries — Bonaparte Appoints 
His Staff — The Final Conference — Opposition of the Jacobins 
— Attitude of Bernadotte — The Second Day — Bonaparte 
Leaves for Saint-Cloud — Description of the Chateau — The 
Sessions Begin — Bonaparte Addresses the Anciens — He Goes to 
the Cinq-Cents — He Mounts His Horse — Lucien Escorted 
from the Hall — He Harangues the Troops — The Cinq-Cents 
Expelled — The Night Sessions — The Consulate Established — 
The Return to Paris — Bonaparte Moves to the Luxembourg 

THE execution of the plot began before daybreak 
on the morning of the 18 Brumaire, when the 
Inspectors met at the Tuileries to set the parlia- 
mentary machine in motion. These officials had the 
power of convoking the assembly, and of disposing of 
the guard. In the middle of the night the guard was 
ordered on duty, as if for the defence of the Chateau. 
The Inspectors gathered in their hall, and passed the 
night in writing summons for an extraordinary session 
of the Anciens at seven o'cock in the morning. Great care 
was taken not to notify any deputies who were known to 
be hostile. Between five and six o'clock the notices were 
delivered at the homes of the members, by the non- 
commissioned officers of the guard. Roused from their 
slumbers by this brusque summons, the deputies dressed 
hastily, and set out for the Tuileries. 



At the same time the troops were in movement from 
their barracks, following the lines of the boulevards, 
and all converging upon the strategic point — the dis- 
trict bounded by the Chaussee-d'Antin and the Tuile- 
ries. With the exception of a very few officers, all thought 
that they were going to an early morning review. At the 
War Department in the Place Vendome every one was 
already on duty. 

At six o'clock Rcederer and his son arrived at the 
hotel of Talleyrand, whom they found in his dressing- 
room. " We have still an hour before us," said Talley- 
rand; "suppose you prepare for Barras a draft of an 
honorable letter of resignation, which will facilitate our 
negotiations with him." The young Roederer sat down 
at a table and wrote at the dictation of his father. After 
several revisions, the letter was finally in satisfactory 
shape, and Talleyrand put it in his pocket, ready for use 
at the proper moment. 

The hall of the Anciens, in the former theatre of the 
Tuileries, gradually filled up, and the session opened 
about eight o'clock. In the name of the Inspectors, a 
report was read, denouncing a terrible plot prepared by 
the Terrorists against the liberty of the nation. The 
paper concluded with an appeal to the courage and patri- 
otic energies of the assembly. 

The leaders of the opposition were absent, and no one 
demanded further explanations. The decree was at once 
proposed, and voted. It provided that the Corps Legislatif 
should be transferred to Saint-Cloud, the two Councils to 
meet at noon on the following day, the 19 Brumaire, in the 
two wings of the palace; furthermore, that General Bo- 
naparte should be instnicted to execute the decree, and, 
for that purpose, should be placed in command of all the 
milii-ary forces of the capital. While the assembly still 
rem-^ined in session, two inspectors were sent to sum- 
mon Bonaparte to the bar of the Anciens to take the oath. 

Early in the morning, the residents of the Quarters situ- 
ated to the north of the Chausee-d'Antin beheld a strange 
and unaccustomed sight. From every direction, officers 

[ 381 ] 


in full-dress uniforms were passing through the sj:reets, 
and all converging on the same point: the little hotel in 
the Rue de la Victoire. Each one thought himself 
specially summoned, and expected to have a personal in- 
terview with Bonaparte. Great was the astonishment of 
all, when they arrived, to find assembled nearly every 
noted general officer in Paris: Berthier, Lannes, Lefebvre, 
Macdonald, Marmont, Moncey, Moreau, Murat, Se- 
rurier, and many others. As the house was too small to 
hold them all, only the principal ones were allowed to 
enter. The others overflowed the little court and the 
garden. They talked in loud voices, full of hope and de- 
light, as they realized that the long-looked-for day had 
arrived, " to throw the lawyers into the river," as 
Lefebvre expressed it. Bonaparte remained in his little 
cabinet, the door of which opened from time to time, to 
admit an important visitor. Berthier and the aides de 
camp did the honors j Josephine remained invisible in her 
own apartments, where a dejeuner had been prepared. 

Gohler, who was expected for dejeuner, had taken 
alarm over an invitation for so early an hour in the 
morning, and remained at the Luxembourg, sending his 
wife In his place. Bonaparte asked Madame Gohier to 
write her husband a note, urging him to come at once, 
but she added a few lines warning the Director of the 
gathering of officers, and he decided to stay at home. So 
this little plot failed. 

Joseph brought Bernadotte with him, but the general 
was in civilian dress, as he did not wish to take part in the 
conspiracy. He resisted all the prayers of Bonaparte, 
but gave his promise to remain neutral. He finally de- 
parted to take breakfast with his brother-in-law. 

A little later, the two inspectors arrived, bearing the 
decree of the Anciens. Bonaparte, in an order of the day 
addressed to the army, at once took command as generalis- 
simo, and sent his aides de camp to direct all of the troops 
to assemble around the Tuileries. He then appeared upon 
the steps of the hotel, in his uniform of general, wearing 
the little hat which was already legendary. In a few words, 



which were received with enthusiasm, he called upon all 
the officers to aid him to save the Republic. He then 
mounted his horse, and set out for the Tuileries, followed 
by the brilliant cavalcade of generals. He was escorted by 
the dragoons of Sebastiani, and was joined en route by 
several squadrons of cavalry, which were placed under 
the command of Murat. 

The cortege followed the line of the boulevards and 
the Rue Royale to the Place de la Concorde, and reached 
the Tuileries by the Gardens. The crowd assembled 
around the Chateau was full of joyous animation, and the 
city had the air of a holiday rather than of a day of rev- 
olution. Nevertheless, all of the spectators understood 
that the demonstration meant the end of the existing re- 
gime, and the exclamation, " the Directory is down and 
out," was heard on all sides. 

In the meantime, according to his own account, Barras 
was occupied in shaving and dressing, in his rooms at the 
Luxembourg. The door of Sieyes was closed to all visitors, 
and the director was anxiously waiting for the news that 
the decree was passed, when he expected to proceed in 
state to the Tuileries, at the head of the guard of the 
Directory. Becoming impatient, he finally descended to 
the garden to perfect himself in his new role of eques- 
trian. Here he received word that the decree had been 
adopted, and at once prepared to set out. Great was his 
surprise to find no guards on duty! At daybreak the com- 
mander had led all the soldiers to the Tuileries, with 
drums beating and trumpets sounding. Sieyes was there- 
fore forced to depart, escorted only by two officers at- 
tached to his person; and trotted modestly to the Chateau, 
which he entered by way of the Carrousel. 

Gohier, alarmed by the reports from the Tuileries, 
called a meeting of the directors in the usual place of 
their deliberations, but only Moulin responded. Ducos 
had followed Sieyes, and Barras sent word that " he was 
in his bath," and could not come for an hour. He was 
still hoping to receive a summons from Bonaparte, and 
to be associated in the enterprise, even at the last moment. 



Gohier and Moulin, left by themselves, did not know 
what action to take. A curt note from the Inspectors had 
advised each one of the directors of the decree trans- 
ferring the assemblies to Saint-Cloud, but gave no further 
details. They were requested to come to the Tuileries, 
where they would find their associates, Sieyes and Ducos. 
They did not know whether it was a measure entirely 
constitutional, to which they must give their assent, or 
the beginning of a coup d'etat. 

At this moment, Fouche, with his cadaverous face, put 
in an appearance. Ignorant of the day set for the move- 
ment, he had been surprised that morning by a summons 
from Bonaparte to join him at the Tuileries. Before 
complying, he had rushed to the Luxembourg to find out 
what the directors were doing. He was very coldly re- 
ceived by Gohier, who reproached him with the inactiv- 
ity of the police. The astute minister did not take long 
to decide that the end of the Directory had come, and he 
set out for the Tuileries, to greet the rising sun. 

After some further hesitation the two directors de- 
cided to act, but they needed the cooperation of Barras, 
in order to have a majority of the Directory on their 
side, and the wily ex-vicomte now sent word that he was 
ill, and could not join them. 

Nevertheless, Barras was beginning to be alarmed by 
the silence of his old friend. Held back by his vanity, 
and the sense of his own importance, he did not feel 
li^e obeying: the curt summons of the Inspectors, and 
finally ended by sending his secretary, Bottot, to the 
Tuilenes in search of information. 

Bonaparte had reached the Tuileries before ten o'clock, 
escorted by the dragoons of Sebastiani, who were de- 
ployed before the grenadiers of the guard of the Direc- 
tory drawn up before the palace, so as to contain this troop 
if necessary. Bonaparte proceeded at once to the hall of 
the Anciens, followed by his brilliant staff of generals. 
It was his first appearance before a legislative assembly, 
and under the circumstances he acquitted himself very 
well. He delivered a brief address in which he carefully 



avoided any promise of fidelity to the Constitution. One 
deputy, Garat, attempted to call attention to the omission, 
but the president stated that, under the Constitution, there 
could now be no discussion except at Saint-Cloud, and 
immediately adjourned the session. 

Bonaparte then descended to the Gardens, to pass the 
troops in review. Here he was approached by the secre- 
tary of Barras. After listening for a moment to Bottot, 
Bonaparte pushed him aside, and then, in a voice loud 
enough to be heard by all, he delivered the celebrated 

" What have you done with that France which I left 
you so brilliant? I left you peace, I have found war! I 
left you victories, I have found defeats! I left you the mil- 
lions of Italy, I have found everywhere despoiling laws 
and misery! What have you done with the hundred 
thousand Frenchmen whom I knew, my companions in 
glory? They are dead! " 

The impression made by these ringing words was most 
profound, and their undeniable truth has for all time 
marked the Directory with the brand of public op- 

Remounting his horse, Bonaparte held a review of 
the troops. While the public was excluded from the 
Gardens, the different regiments of cavalry, infantry 
and artillery defiled before him, and greeted him with 

At eleven o'clock the Five-Hundred assembled in the 
Palais-Bourbon, on the other side of the Seine. This 
palace took its name from the Duchesse de Bourbon, the 
daughter of Louis the Fourteenth and Madame de Mnn- 
tespan, who began the construction in 1722. Later, the 
building was greatly enlarged by her grandson, the Prince 
de Conde. Condemned as national property durini? the 
Revolution, in 1798 it was transformed for the meetino-s 
of the Cinq-Cents, and is to-day the Chambre des 

Lucien Bonaparte took the presidential chair, and the 
secretary was reading the minutes, when a messenger ap- 

[ 385 ] 


peared, bearing the decree of the Anciens. Under the 
Constitution, any discussion was prohibited, and the ses- 
sion was at once adjourned until noon on the following 
day at the Chateau of Saint-Cloud. 

While these events were taking place, Josephine had 
employed all of her arts and graces to keep Madame 
Gohier at her house. The wife of the director finally 
succeeded in making her escape j and with some difficulty 
reached the Luxembourg, through the streets crowded 
with spectators and encumbered by the movements of the 
troops. As a profound secret, Josephine had informed her 
visitor that Talleyrand was going to see Barras, and de- 
mand his resignation. This communication, when con- 
veyed to Gohier by his wife, led the director to imagine 
that only Barras was to be eliminated, without affecting 
the other members of the Executive. From this moment 
Gohier was partially implicated in the conspiracy. He 
believed that Barras was to be the scapegoat, and took no 
further steps to obstruct the course of events. 

In the meantime, Barras, in his apartment, counted 
the minutes; and as hour after hour passed without any 
word from Bonaparte, he became more and more uneasy. 
It was after midday when Talleyrand was finally an- 
nounced. He drew from his pocket the draft of the fa- 
mous letter, in which Barras was made to say that he had 
only engaged in public affairs through his passion for 
liberty, and concluded with the statement that he returned 
with joy to the ranks of simple citizens. The bitter pill 
was presented with all the courtesy and grace of that con- 
summate diplomat, Talleyrand; it was gilded with the 
offer of a round sum of money, and was duly swallowed 
by the patient. The business finished, Barras expressed the 
desire to leave at once, and retire to his estate of Grosbois. 
An hour later he left Paris, escorted by a hundred dra- 
goons, furnished by the little general whom he had once 
condescended to befriend. Thus the Vicomte Paul de 
Barras " slipped stealthily out of history." 

At the end of the review, Bonaparte joined Sieyes and 
Ducos in the hall of the Inspectors at the Tuileries. The 



ministers had all been summoned to appear there, under 
pretext of assuring the execution of the decree. The 
first to arrive were Fouche and Cambaceres, the min- 
isters of the Police and of Justice; they were followed 
by Quinette, of the Interior, Reinhard, of Foreign 
Affairs j and, after a second summons, by Lindet, the 
Minister of Finance. The only one who did not come was 
Dubois-Crance, of the War Office, who had been divested 
by the decree of all authority over the troops. Fouche 
was loud in his protestations of devotion. Through excess 
of zeal, he had ordered all the barriers of the city closed, 
as usual on days of revolution, but Bonaparte instructed 
him to countermand the order. 

One of the first acts of Bonaparte was to send three 
hundred soldiers to the Luxembourg, under the command 
of Moreau, to guard Gohier and Moulin. The directors 
were indignant over this act of surveillance, and addressed 
a message of protest to the Councils, which Moreau sup- 

At one o'clock Bonaparte sent the troops concentrated 
around the Tuileries to guard the principal strategic 
points of the capital, including the approaches to the 
Chateau, the Champs-filysees, and the route to Saint- 
Cloud. At the same time he designated, for the most 
important commands, the generals most devoted to his 
person: Lefebvre, as his "first lieutenant "j Andreossy, 
as chief of staif ; Lannes, as commandant at the Tuileries; 
Murat, at the Palais-Bourbon; Marmont, as head of the 
artillery; Macdonald, at Versailles; and Serurier, with 
a strong detachment of infantry, at Point-du-Jour (Issy), 
whence he was to advance in the morning to Saint-Cloud, 
and take the position of second in command. 

As soon as the soldiers left the Tuileries, the spectators 
returned to their homes or their work, and the city re- 
sumed its usual aspect. Although the result of the coup 
d'etat was not yet known, the public funds had risen on 
the Bourse. The bankers offered their assistance: "two 
millions were brought to the Treasury before three 
oyock, and two more were promised for the following 



day." It was evident that the changes had made a favor- 
able impression in the city. 

Bonaparte remained at the Tuileries, which had be- 
come both the civil and military headquarters, until late 
in the evening, when he returned to the Rue de la Vic- 
toire for the night. At the Chateau, there was a continual 
throng of prominent men, who came to pay their respects 
and offer their adhesion. Many persons considered doubt- 
ful, if not hostile, put in an appearance, including Jourdan 
and Augereau. Before separating for the night, there 
was a final council, at which were present, Bonaparte, 
Sieyes, Ducos, Lucien, and several others. The plans for 
the following day were discussed, but the only things 
definitely agreed upon were, the suppression of the Direc- 
tory, and the appointment of three provisional consuls, 
by vote of the two Councils. 

Sieyes, " absorbed in his reflections, only proposed ab- 
stract ideas "j Ducos was silent j Lucien felt sure of con- 
trolling the Five-Hundred. Cambaceres was astonished 
to find the plans so indefinite. It was a grave imprudence! 
Bonaparte made the mistake of leaving the details in the 
hands of his parliamentary advisers, and they committed 
the error of relying for success upon his military prestige. 
A proposition of Sieyes, that the leading Jacobins, about 
forty in number, should be arrested, was vetoed by Bo- 
naparte, who still adhered to his original determination 
that the revolution should be accomplished, if possible, 
without violent measures. He felt himself so sure of his 
ground, so powerful, so popular, that he could come to 
supreme power without a struggle, without shedding a 
drop of blood. 

The Jacobins in the Cinq-Cents spent the day, and 
most of the night, in stirring up opposition. They received 
but little support from the military cliaue, Jourdan, 
Augereau, and their followers, who had concluded a kind 
of armistice with Bonaparte, and decided not to go to 
Saint-Cloud the next day, but remain home, as " passive 
spectators of events." 

The civilian Jacobins, on the contrary, were full of 



fight, and determined to force hostilities. As it was evi- 
dent that the army would once more be the arbiter of the 
destinies of the Republic, they felt the necessity of op- 
posing the sword of Bonaparte with that of another gen- 
eral who had standing with the soldiers, and they natu- 
rally turned to Bernadotte. 

After taking breakfast with Joseph, and appearing for 
a moment at the Tuileries, during the afternoon, Berna- 
dotte had spent the evening with the Jacobins, and had 
arranged to see the chiefs of the party at his house at five 
o'clock in the morning. Having refused to act as the 
lieutenant of Bonaparte, he now hoped to force himself 
upon him as an associate. 

The night passed quietly. Lannes guarded the Tuil- 
eries, and Moreau, the Luxembourg. The troops occupied 
all the strategic points. The theatres were crowded, as 
usual. Without, the rain fell in torrents, and the streets 
were practically deserted. The day which had begun with 
golden sunshine, ended with a November night, rainy and 

On Sunday morning, the 19 Brumaire, the air was 
clear and cool, after the storm of the night before. At 
dawn the troops began their march from Paris to Saint- 
Cloud. At the head of the line was Serurier with the de- 
tachments of infantry which had passed the night at 
Auteuil, Passy and Issy. Lefebvre and his staff followed, 
with the dragoons and chasseurs. The grenadiers of the 
guard of the Directory and the Councils marched from 
their caserne of the Capucines, but one of the two bat- 
talions was left behind, as the officers had no confidence 
in their men. 

Fouche stayed at Paris to insure order in the capital: 
a role which pleased him, as being less compromising. 
In concert with the military authorities he took strong 
measures to repress any outbreak. 

The " army of generals " had already gathered at Bo- 
naparte's house. In a few brief words he gave his final 
orders. As the day promised to be long and tiresome, he 



told Lannes, who was still sufiFering from his wound, that 
he had better remain at home. He then set out in a car- 
riage with his aides de camp, escorted by a detachment 
of cavalry. He was followed by his military and civil 
staff, who were also in carriages. As they traversed the 
Place de la Concorde, the site of the guillotine, Bourrienne 
remarked to Lavalette, '* We shall sleep tomorrow in the 
Luxembourg, or we shall finish here." 

The route from Paris to Saint-Cloud, which passed 
through the Bois de Boulogne, was crowded with car- 
riages, horsemen and pedestrians. Every person of im- 
portance was accompanied by some friend or adherent: 
Sieyes had with him the inseparable Ducosj Talleyrand 
had the two Roederers, father and son. 

At Saint-Cloud, while waiting for the spectacle to begin, 
every one was taking breakfast: all of the inns and cafes 
were crowded. The scene resembled a great picnic, out of 

By the advice of Bonaparte, the speculator Collot 
had rented a house near the Chateau, and here Talley- 
rand took up his quarters, as he had no official role 
to play. 

All of the furniture of the palace had disappeared 
during the Revolution, but the gildings and the decora- 
tions remained intact. The buifding was now in the hands 
of an army of decorators, who were hastily preparing the 
rooms for the meetings: two for the Councils, one for the 
Inspectors, and another for the staff. The grenadiers of 
the Corps Legislatif were on guard at all the posts, 
within the building and in the court. Around the palace 
were grouped the other troops, of all arms. Their number 
was not very considerable: less than a full regiment of 
infantry, three squadrons of cavalry, and one or two com- 
panies of artillery. 

A carriage, escorted by a few dragoons, crossed the 
bridge, below at the left, rapidly mounted the avenue, 
entered the court, and stopped. A small group of officers 
alighted and entered the Chateau, with Bonaparte at 
their head. He at once made a tour of inspection, and 

[ 390] 


was disappointed to find that the preparations were not 
yet completed for the opening of the sessions, set for 

In order to clearly understand the events to follow, a 
brief description of the Chateau is necessary. It was built 
at the edge of a magnificent park, on a long terrace over- 
looking the Seine, with the city of Paris at a distance in 
the background. The main building and the two project- 
ing wings framed the court of honor, which was entered 
from an exterior court at the right. Behind the Chateau 
was a beautiful French garden, bordered on one side by 
an extension of the palace, and on the other by an alley 
shaded by high trees, which still exist. The building was 
of moderate dimensions, and the court and the garden 
were quite small. 

The most beautiful room in the palace, the Gallery of 
Apollo, on the first floor in the right wing, was reserved 
for the Anciens. To accommodate the Cinq-Cents, nothing 
better could be found than the Orangerie, a long stone 
annex to the main building, behind, and on the same line 
with, the right wing, in which the Anciens were to sit. This 
room was bare and cold, but it was well lighted by twelve 
high and wide windows, looking out on the garden, and 
opening at full length just above the ground j the other 
wall was blank. The entrance was by a door next to the 
palace, and at the farther end there was another door giv- 
ing access to the park. The annex was separated from the 
main building by a small corridor or vestibule, and here a 
post of a few guards was stationed. The members of the 
Cinq-Cents, entering from the court of honor, could reach 
their place of meeting by going through several corridors, 
and ascending a short staircase, for the rez-de-chaussee 
of the palace, on account of the slope of the land, was 
lower than the garden and the Orangerie. 

The desk of the president was placed on a platform 
erected opposite the fourth window from the main en- 
trance j at right and left were the tables for the two secre- 
taries j and below was the tribune, reached by a double 

[391 ] 


staircase. The remainder of the hall was occupied by the 
seats of the deputies, except a small space at each end, 
which could accommodate perhaps two hundred specta- 
tors, placed on the same level as the members, but sepa- 
rated from them by a railing. 

The name of Saint-Cloud is a corruption of Clodewald, 
a royal saint j he bequeathed the lands to the bishops of 
Paris, who built a palace there. The property subsequently 
came into the possession of a banker named Gondi, one of 
the adventurers who followed Catherine de Medicis from 
Italy. He erected a villa there, which, with the park, was 
purchased by Louis the Fourteenth, and presented to his 
brother, the Due d'Orleans. In 1785 Saint-Cloud was 
sold for six million francs to Marie-Antoinette, who made 
great improvements in the Chateau, and frequently re- 
sided there prior to the Revolution. During the Consu- 
late and the Empire, it was the favorite summer residence 
of Napoleon, as it was afterwards of his nephew, Na- 
poleon the Third. During the siege o:^ Paris in the Franco- 
Prussian war, Saint-Cloud was occupied by the Germans, 
and t^he Chateau was destroyed by shots from the fortress 
of Mont-Valerien. Later the ruined walls were torn down, 
and not a vestige of the building now remains. 

At one o'clock the hall of the Cinq-Cents was finally 
ready. Lucien Bonaparte took the chair, and declared the 
session opened. A motion that all the deputies renew in- 
dividually the oath to the Constitution, was received with 
thunders of applause. According to custom, this oath had 
to be taken by each member appearing in the tribune as his 
name was called, an operation which consumed much time, 
and it was not completed until four o'clock. 

In the meantime the Anciens had assembled, with the 
usual dignified ceremonies. A demand was at once made 
by the Opposition that the Inspectors explain more 
clearly the reasons for the transfer of the place of meet- 
ing. To cut short a debate on this dangerous question, ? 
friendly deputy remarked that they could not take any 
valid action until they knew that the Cinq-Cents were in 



session. The meeting was therefore suspended at three 
o'clock to await word from the other Council. 

While these events were taking place, Bonaparte was 
anxiously waiting in his headquarters on the first floor, 
near the Gallery of Apollo, in which the Anciens were 
sitting. Here he received word that Jourdan and Augereau 
had arrived from Paris. Feeling that there was no time 
to lose, between three-thirty and four o'clock, he left his 
room, and proceeded to the assembly of the Anciens, fol- 
lowed by his aides de camp. The session was still sus- 
pended, but on the announcement of the General, all 
the members resumed their seats. 

On entering, Bonaparte took a position in the centre 
of the room, facing the platform of the president, with 
Berthier and Bourrienne at his side. He then made a short 
address, which was full of blunders. He was no orator, 
and was not accustomed to the ways of legislative assem- 
blies: he knew how to command, but not how to persuade. 
Like an amateur actor upon his first appearance, all his 
faculties seemed paralyzed, as by stage-fright. His words 
had no coherency and no connection. 

Bonaparte finally withdrew, and, once outside the hall, 
seemed to recover his usual self-possession. He then pro- 
ceeded to the Orangerie, where the Cinq-Cents were in 
session. With some difficulty he made his way through the 
groups of deputies, and approached the tribune. Suddenly 
there came from all sides cries of : " Down with the dic- 
tator! Down with the tyrant! Outlaw him! " He was 
surrounded by a mob of frantic deputies, who pushed and 
struck him. Bonaparte, who had an instinctive horror of 
the personal contact of a crowd, almost fainted. At the 
sight of their general in peril, Murat and Lefebvre, and 
the soldiers near the door, forced their way into the room, 
and finally succeeded in rescuing Bonaparte from the mob. 

In the hall the cries o^ " Hors la loi! " which had pre- 
ceded the fall of Robespierre, still continued. With mar- 
vellous coolness, Lucien succeeded for a moment in 
dominating the situation, and made his voice heard, in a 
call to order. But soon the tumult was renewed, and he 



gave up the presidential chair, to address the assembly 
from the tribune. 

In the meantime, Bonaparte had returned to his apart- 
ment on the first floor, where he was surrounded by his 
associates, Sieyes and Ducos, and by his staff of generals. 
Murat and Leclerc urged him to call on the troops, and 
Sieyes declared that the moment had come to draw the 
sword and cut to the quick. He finally decided that no 
other course was feasible, and descended to the courtyard 
and mounted his horse. With his staflF around him, he 
addressed the soldiers, and asked if he could count upon 
them. " Yes! Yes! " they cried, and cheered him fran- 

It was now nearly five o'clock. The night was coming 
on, and nothing was yet decided. In the Five-Hundred, 
Lucien was still trying to make his voice heard from the 
tribune, in defence of his brother. But the tumult grew 
worse every moment, and he gave up hope of any solution 
except intervention from without. Leaning over from the 
tribune he whispered to a friendly inspector: " Go and 
tell my brother that unless the session is suspended 
within ten minutes I cannot be responsible for anything." 

The inspector at once acquitted himself of the commis- 
sion. This signal of distress was all that was necessary to 
give Napoleon the inspiration for the final action. In 
a moment the relief of Lucien was prepared and exe- 
cuted. A captain, followed by ten grenadiers, entered 
the hall and escorted Lucien to the door. Descending 
to the courtyard, he mounted a horse, beside his brother, 
and harangued the troops in ringing tones: 

"Citizen soldiers! The President of the Council of 
the Five-Hundred assures you that the immense ma- 
jority of that Council for the moment is living in terror 
of a few members armed with daggers, who are besieg- 
ing the rostrum, threatening their colleagues with death 
and forcing them into decisions of the most terrible 
kind. I declare to you that these audacious brigands, paid 
no doubt by England, have rebelled against the Council of 
the Ancients and have dared to talk of outlawing the 



general charged with the execution o£ its decree. Let 
them be expelled by force! These brigands do not rep- 
resent the people, they represent the dagger! " 

From the soldiers came a unanimous cry of approval. 
At last Napoleon gave the order. The officers drew their 
swords, the drums beat the charge, and the grenadiers, 
with bayonets fixed, led by the intrepid Joachim Murat, 
mounted the stairway that led to the Orangerie. 

Within the hall confusion reigned supreme: the depu- 
ties had heard the shouts, followed by the dull rhythmic 
beats of the drums, which became louder and louder. 
The door flew open, and the troops appeared. A second 
detachment under Leclerc followed. Murat gave the 
command: the troops with crossed bayonets advanced 
upon the deputies, and soon cleared the hall. One by one 
the members dropped out of the low windows, and some 
of them did not stop running until they reached the gates 
of Paris. 

The dissolution of the Cinq-Cents at once brought the 
Anciens to their senses. A committee was appointed, which 
met in a room of the Chateau, and soon presented a 
report providing for the appointment of three temporary 
Consuls, Bonaparte, Sieyes, and Ducos; an adjournment 
of the two Councils until the 22 December 5 and the crea- 
tion of a commission to draft a new constitution. 

The report of the committee was immediately put in 
the form of a decree, which was adopted by the Anciens 
with only one dissenting vote. The session was then 
suspended for two hours, until nine o'clock. 

In the poorly lighted Chateau the victors encamped 
upon the field of battle. Lucien received many com- 
pliments; but it is an exaggeration to state that he alone 
had saved the day for his brother. The result would have 
been the same in any event. 

While Bonaparte and his associates dined as best they 
could at the Chateau, messengers were dispatched in 
every direction in search of the dispersed Five- 
Hundred, and finally about one hundred of them were 
persuaded or forced to return. The reunion was a strange 

[ 395 ] 


sight. The large room was lighted only by a few candles 
placed upon the platform and the tribune. Lucien took 
the chair and called the meeting to order, and the decree 
already passed by the Ancients was immediately adopted. 

It was after midnight before all the legislative work 
was finished. The new Consuls were then sent for to 
take the oath. At two o'clock in the morning, the cele- 
brated general, the ex-abbe, and the former justice of 
the peace, entered and took their places before the pres- 
ident, Lucien, who read the oath. The three men ex- 
tended their arms, and responded: " I swear it." Such was 
the inauguration of " the greatest government France has 
ever known." 

A repetition of the same scene followed, before the 
Ancients J and towards the end of the night it seemed 
that the initial work was all finished. Every one then 
set out for Paris, and the Chateau was left in solitude. 
Bonaparte went home in a carriage with Bourrienne: 
absorbed in his reflections, he did not speak during the 
trip. Sieyes and Ducos returned to the Luxembourg, 
where Moreau was still guarding their former associate, 
Gohierj Moulin had been allowed to escape. 

The day following the 1 9 Brumaire, the 1 1 November 
by our calendar, was a decadi, or Republican Sunday. 
At ten o'clock in the morning, Bonaparte, dressed in 
civilian costume, left his house, and in a carriage, 
escorted only by six dragoons, proceeded to the Lux- 
embourg, to rejoin his colleagues and set the new gov- 
ernment in operation. During the course of the day, 
Josephine also left the little hotel in the Rue de la 
Victoire, and moved across the Seine. That night, for the 
first time. Napoleon slept beneath the roof of one of 
the royal palaces of France. It was ten years, six months 
and six days since the States-General assembled at Ver- 

The curtain had rung down on the last scene of the 
French Revolution. 




Genealogical Table 






































3 5* 












i s 









;s S: 



1^5 Si 









^ 3 








Among the changes made during the Revolution was the substi- 
tution of a new calendar, usually called the Revolutionary or Repub- 
lican calendar, for the prevailing Gregorian system. The calendar 
became law on 5 October 1793; but the new arrangement was regarded 
as beginning on the 22 September 1792, this day being chosen because 
on it the Republic was proclaimed, and because it was in that year 
the day of the autumnal equinox. By the new calendar the year of 
365 days was divided into twelve months of thirty days each, every 
month being divided into three periods of ten days, called decadesy 
the tenth or last day of each decade being a day of rest. The five 
remaining days of the year were set aside for national holidays and 
were called Sans-culottides. They were to fall at the end of the 
year, that is to say on the five days from the 17 to the 21 September. 
A similar course was adopted with regard to the extra day which 
occurred once in every four years, but the first of these was to fall 
in the Year Three, 1795, and not in 1796, the leap year in the 
Gregorian calendar. 















I" Vendemiaire 

22 Septembre 

23 Septembre 

23 Septembre 

I" Brumaire 

22 Octobre 

23 Octobre 

23 Octobre 

I" Frimaire 

21 Novembre 

22 Novembre 

22 Novembre 


21 Decembre 

22 Decembre 

22 Decembre 

!•' Pluviose 

20 Janvier 

21 Janvier 

21 Janvier 

!•' Ventose 

19 Fevrier 

20 Fevrier 

20 Fevrier 

I*' Germinal 

21 Mars 

21 Mars 

22 Mars 

!•' Floreal 

20 Avril 

20 Avril 

21 Avril 

I" Prairial 

20 Mai 

20 Mai 

21 Mai 

!•' Messidor 

19 Juin 

19 Juin 

20 Juin 


19 Juillet 

19 Juillet 

20 Juillet 

I" Fructidor 

18 Aout 

18 Aout 

19 Aout 



1754 Birth of Louis XVI, 23 August 

1755 Birth of Marie - Antoinette, 

2 November I79i 

1770 Marriage of Louis and Marie- 
Antoinette, 19 April 
1774 Accession of Louis XVI, 10 

1776 Turgot dismissed. May 

1777 Necker, Controller, 29 June 

1778 Franco-American Alliance, 6 

February 1792 

178 1 Necker dismissed, 19 May 
1783 Peace with England, 9 Sep- 
Calonne, Controller, November 
1785 Affair of the Necklace, Feb- 

1787 Assembly of Notables, 22 

Calonne succeeded by Brienne, 

1788 Necker recalled, 25 August 

1789 States-General assemble, 5 May 
Title of National Assembly 

adopted, 17 June 
Oath of the Tennis-Court, 20 1793 

Royal Session, 23 June 
Union of the Three Estates, 

27 June 
Necker dismissed, 11 July 
Fall of the Bastille, 14 July 
First Emigration begins, 16 

Feudal rights abolished, 4 

The mob at Versailles, 5 Oc- 
The King goes to Paris, 6 

The Assembly moves to Paris, 

19 October 

1790 Fete of the Federation, 14 


[401 ] 

Resignation of Necker, 4 Sep- 

Death of Mirabeau, 2 April 

Flight to Varennes, 20 June 

Declaration of Pillnitz, 27 

The King accepts the Consti- 
tution, 14 September 

The Legislative Assembly 
meets, i October 

War with Austria, 20 April 

The mob at theTuileries, 20 

The Brunswick Manifesto, 25 

Massacre of the Swiss Guard, 
10 August 

Vendee Insurrection, August 

The September Massacres, 2-5 

Battle of Valmy, 20 September 

Republic proclaimed, 22 Sep- 

Battle of Jemmapes, 6 No- 

Committee of General De- 
fence, 4 January 

The King executed, 21 Janu- 

War with England and Hol- 
land, I February 

War with Spain, 7 March 

Revolutionary Tribunal, 10 

Defection of Dumouriez, 5 

Committee of Public Safety, 
6 April 

The Convention at the Tuile- 
ries, 10 May 

Fall of the Gironde, 2 June 

Marat assassinated, 13 July 

Execution of the Queen, 16 


The Girondins executed, 31 

Toulon evacuated, 19 De- 

1794 The "Great Terror " begins, 

Danton guillotined, 5 April 
Battle of Fleurus, 26 June 
Fall of Robespierre (9 Ther- 

midor), 27 July 
Pichegru conquers the Low 

Countries, October 
Jacobin Club closed, il No- 

1795 Peace with Prussia, 5 April 
Death of the Dauphin, 8 June 
Peace with Spain, 4 September 
Belgium annexed, i October 
The 13 Vendemiaire, 5 October 
The Directory installed, 27 


1796 Campaign of Italy begins, 11 

Truce with Sardinia, 28 April 
Battle of Castiglione, 5 August 
Battle of Arcole, 15-17 No- 

1797 Battle of Rivoli, 14 January 
Mantua surrenders, 2 Feb- 

Treaty of Tolentino, 19 Feb- 
Leoben Preliminaries, 18 April 
The 18 Fructidor, 4 September 
Peace of Campo-Formio, 17 

1798 Bonaparte sails from Toulon, 

19 May 
Malta captured, 11 June 
Alexandria taken, 2 July 
Battle of the Pyramids, 21 

Battle of the Nile, i August 

1799 Jaffa occupied, 7 March 
Siege of Acre, 19 March-20 


SouvarofF's Campaign in Italy, 

Battle of Aboukir, 25 July 

Joubert killed at Novi, 15 

Bonaparte leaves Egypt, 24 

Russian defeats in Switzer- 
land, September-October 

Bonaparte lands at Frejus, 9 

The 18 Brumaire, 9 November 

Bonaparte, Consul, 10 No- 




The authorities for the history of the French Revolution are so 
abundant and so varied that only a brief notice of them can be given 
here. None of the general histories is entirely satisfactory: the 
immense mass of material has not yet been thoroughly sifted; and 
the judgment of most of the French historians is still influenced 
by the passions of that age. 

Nearly all of the numerous memoirs of the time, so largely used 
by historians of the last generation, were composed after the lapse 
of many years, between the observation of the event and the writing 
down of the record, and few are trustworthy. An amazing num- 
ber of these memoirs, including those of Barras, Fouche, and Robes- 
pierre, are not authentic. Even those of Bertrand, Campan, Dumont, 
Fersen, Ferrieres, Malouet, and Madame Roland, are more or less 
rejected by Lord Acton. Doubts have also been expressed as to the 
genuineness of the " Memoires de Talleyrand," and of the recent 
publication by Heidenstam on " Marie-Antoinette, Fersen et Barnave, 
leur correspondence" (Paris 191 3), but in this latter case probably 
all the errors cited by the critic can be easily explained. 

The reader should also be on his guard not to be misled by the 
immense amount of forged material which has been published, such 
as the third volume of the " Memoires " of Bailly, the " Journal of 
a Spy in Paris during the Reign of Terror," and the " Lettres de 
Marie-Antoinette," published by Hunolstein and Feuillet de Conches. 

Almost equally untrustworthy are the works of many of the older 
historians, who relied upon sources of which the authenticity is more 
than doubtful ; for example, the two newspapers, the " Moniteur " 
and the " Journal des debats," and a contemporary " Histoire de la 
revolution fran^aise par deux amis de la liberte." 

A marked characteristic of the later school of historians has been 
their rejection of the Memoires and their emancipation from the 
authority of the writers who relied upon them. This phase is repre- 
sented by the works of Sybel, Taine and Sorel. 

For a more extensive Bibliography, the reader is referred to volume 
VIII of the Cambridge Modern History, and "The French Revo- 
lution" by William O'Connor Morris (New York, 1887); also, for 
a very interesting and able examination of the sources, to the Appendix 

C403 ] 


of Lord Acton's "Lectures on the French Revolution" (London, 

AuLARD, F. V. A. "The French Revolution, A Political History, 
1 789-1 804." Translated, New York, 1910. 4 vols. A great 
political history of the Revolutionary era. His narrative is 
intelligent and instructive beyond all others, and is remark- 
ably free from prejudice. He maintains that, on the eve of 
the Revolution, no one had ever dreamed of the establishment of 
a republic in France. It was the King, who refused loyally to 
accept his new role of Constitutional monarch, who was respon- 
sible for the fall of the Throne, which was precipitated by the 
written proofs of his treason seized by the victors of the 10 
August. Out of the exasperation of all patriots over the in- 
vasion of France by Austria and Prussia, to replace Louis on his 
throne, was born the Republic. 

Blanc, Louis. " Histoire de la Revolution." Paris, 1 847-1 862. 12 
vols. A work containing many curious documents, and animated 
pleadings in favor of the principles and acts of the Revolution; 
remarkable for its account of events in Bretagne and the Vendee. 
Blanc was a socialist, and the power of his pen does not com- 
pensate for the weary obtrusion of the author's doctrine. He 
is an admirer and advocate of Robespierre. 

Carlyle, Thomas. "The French Revolution." New York, 1900. 

2 vols. (First published, London, 1837.) A dramatic commen- 
tary, rather than a history. 

Chuquet, Arthur. " Les Guerres de la Revolution." Paris, 1886- 
1894. 9 vols. Under this general title, M. Chuquet has pub- 
lished a series of works on the earlier wars of the Republic, 
covering the campaigns from the first Prussian invasion and the 
battle of Valmy, to Hoche and the struggle for Alsace. He is 
a clear and precise writer, and a critic of remarkable ability. 

Droz, F. X. J. "Histoire du regne de Louis XVI." Paris, 1854. 

3 vols. Droz was the first historian who wrote with authority. 
He had consulted Lally-Tollendal, and he was allowed to use 
the valuable memoirs of Malouet, which were in manuscript. 
For the time when it was written, the book is sound and accurate. 

Lamartine, A. DE. "Histoire des Girondins." Paris, 1847. 4 

vols. No historical work ever obtained a more splendid success. 

Dumas said that he had lifted history to the level of romance. 

But his work, like Carlyle's, Is full of amazing blunders. 
Lavisse, Ernest (Ed.). "La Revolution." Paris, 1920. 2 vols. 

The most recent French work on the subject. 



Madelin, Louis. " The French Revolution." Translated, New 
York, 1 91 6. The best short history. "Crowned by the French 

MiCHELET, Jules. " Histoire de la Revolution." Paris, 1847- 
1853. 9 vols. An enthusiastic, eloquent work: a real epic 
poem, of which " the People is the hero." It gives the clearest 
and most vivid impression of the Terror, but endsl with the 
fall of Robespierre. 

MiGNET, F. A. M. " Histoire de la Revolution frangaise." Paris, 
1 86 1. 2 vols. (First published, 1824.) One of the best 
short books on the subject: a judicial and learned resume. 

QuiNET, Edgar. "La Revolution." Paris, 1865. 2 vols A work 
remarkable for its historic portraits. The writer, although a 
sincere republican, blames unsparingly the acts of the Revolution, 
with no more consideration for the Terror than for the 18 
Brumaire. He attributes the national disasters to a disregard of 

SoREL, Albert. " L'Europe et la Revolution frangaise." Paris, 
1 881-1904. 8 vols. A profound study of the consequences of 
the Revolution in Europe, and of the counter-effect of foreign 
politics upon the internal policy of France. Sorel surpassed his 
predecessors because he was able to consult much personal and 
much diplomatic correspondence. He fell short of those who 
were to come, because he was wanting in official information. 
In his day, he was the greatest authority on the subject. 

Stephens, Henry Morse. " A History of the French Revolution." 
New York, 1 886-1 891, 2 vols. An excellent work, which un- 
fortunately has never been completed. 

Sybel, H. von. " History of the French Revolution." Trans. 
London, 1861. 4 vols. A thorough and careful work. The 
author had access to much material in the Continental archives 
untouched by earlier writers. The history ends with the disso- 
lution of the National' Convention in October, 1795. 

Taine, H. a. " L'Ancien Regime " (2 vols.) and " La Revolution " 
(6 vols.). Paris, 1900-1906. A very brilliant picture, but too 
highly colored. His work is the most scientific, and one of 
the ablest that we possess; but, in the words of Lord Acton, 
Taine is a pathologist, and not a historian, and his book is no 
substitute for history. 

Thiers, Adolphe. " Histoire de la Revolution frangaise." Paris, 
1 823-1 827. 10 vols. A clear, rapid, dramatic narrative, but 
often superficial, and, in the words of Carlyle, " as far as possible 
from meriting its high reputation." 

[405 ] 


TocQUEviLLE, A. DE. ** L'Ancicn Regime et la Revolution." Paris, 
1856 (never finished). One of the most valuable books ever 
produced on the Revolution. Of all the writers, in the opinion 
of Lord Acton, he is the most widely acceptable, and the hardest 
to find fault with: he is always wise, always right, and as just 
as Aristides. 

Young, Arthur. "Travels in France during the Years 1787- 
88-89." London, 1794. i vol. (out of print). One of the 
most valuable books regarding the earlier Revolutionary period. 



Aboukir, battle of, 360 {see also Nile) 

Adhemar, Comte d', 36 

Aix, Archbishop of, 118 

Alvinzy, General, 343 

Arcole, battle of, 344 

Argonne, the, 229, 23 1 

Army, the, 76^ 220, 223-227, 303, 327 

Artois, Comte d', 24, 162 

Assembly, Constituent, 73, 115, 164, 

167, 168 
Assembly, Legislative, 169 
AssignatSy the, 129 
Augereau, General, 333, 334, 376 
August 10, massacre of, 201 
Austria, 161, 185, 228, 353 
Autun, Bishop of {see Talleyrand) 

Bailly, mayor, deputy, 72, 73, 90, 
179, 286 

Bale, peace of, 3 10 

Banquet of the Body-Guard, 98 

Barere, deputy, 261 

Barnave, deputy, 120, 153-166, 287 

Barras, deputy, director, 319, 324, 

Barthelemy, director, 332, 334 

Basire, deputy, 171 

Bassano, battle of, 343 

Bastile, the, 79-89 

Beauharnais, Alexandre, deputy, gen- 
eral, 267 

Beaulieu, Marshal, 337 

Beaumarchais, author, 57 

Bernadotte, General, 354, 363, 376, 
382, 389 

Berthier, General, 337, 366 

Bertier, intendant of Paris, 95 

Besenval, General, 40, 82 

Beurnonville, Minister for War, 256 

Bigot, deputy, 170 

Billaud-Varenne, deputy, 260 

Biron (Due de Lauzun), general, 221, 

Bonaparte, Joseph, 382 

Bonaparte, Lucien, 373, 392, 394, 395 

Bonaparte, Napoleon, at Paris 
(20 June 1792), 191; commands 
siege artillery at Toulon, 302; 
promoted general of brigade, 303; 
commands troops of Convention on 
13 Vendemiaire, 319; promoted 
general of division and commander 
of Army of the Interior, 321; ap- 
pointed to command of Army of 
Italy, 335; his first proclamation, 
336; defeats the Allies, 338; makes 
treaty with Sardinia, 339; enters 
Milan, 346; second proclama^tion, 
341; victory at Castiglione, 342; 
battle of Bassano, 343; battle of 
Arcole, 344; battle of Rivoli, 345; 
surrender of Mantua, 347; treaty 
of Tolentino, 347; advances to the 
Tagliamento, 348; preliminaries of 
Leoben, 348; peace of Campo- 
Formio, 349; appointed to com- 
mand of Army of England, 356; 
decides on expedition to Egypt, 
357; captures Alexandria, 358; 
battle of the Pyramids, 358; de- 
struction of French fleet, 359; 
expedition to Syria, 360; return to 
France, 361; news in Paris of his 
landing, 366; arrival at Paris, 369; 
reconciliation with Josephine, 369; 
preparations for the coup d'etat, 
370; the 18 Brumaire, 380; the 
19 Brumaire, 389; appointed 
Consul, 396 

Bordeaux, 268 

Bouille, General, 142, 151, 174 

Bourbon, Due de, 176 

Breton Club, 74 

Brienne, minister, 59 

Brissot, deputy, 169 

Broglie, Marechal de, 75 

Brueys, Admiral, 359 

Brumaire, coup d'etat of i8th, 380 

f 407 ] 


Brune, General, 269 
Brunswick, Duke of, 228-233 
Buzot, deputy, 182, 215, 271 

Cabarrus {see Mme Tallien) 
Cagliostro, 42 

Calendar, the Revolutionary, 289, 400 
Calonne, controller, 58, 162 
Campan, Mme, 105, 154-165 
Campo-Formio, peace of, 349 
Camot, deputy, director, 258, 324, 

Castiglione, battle of, 342 
Catharine II, of Russia, 314 
Cazotte, prophecy of, 127 
Charles, Archduke, 330, 347 
Chartres, Due de {see Orleans) 
Cherasco, armistice of, 339 
Choiseul, Comte de, 145, 150 
Church, the, 129 
Clarke, General, 347 
Clerfayt, General, 228 
Clergy, the, 5, 327 
Clubs, the, 116 

Coalition, the Second, 361-365 
Coblentz, manifesto of, 161; emigres 

at, 162 
Coigny, Due de, 40 
Colli, General, 337 
Collot d'Herbois, deputy, 260 
Committee, Military, 304 
Committee of General Defence, 255 
Committee of Public Safety, 256, 

Commune, the, 208 
Conde, Prince de, 176 
Condorcet, deputy, 169 
Constant, Benjamin, 329 
Constituent Assembly {see Assembly) 
Constitution of 1791, 125, 163 
Constitution of 1793, 269 
Constitution of the Year Three, 318 
Convention, the, 213, 322 
Corday, Charlotte, 265 
Cordeliers Club, 116 
Corsica, 307, 331 
Councils, the, 315, 323, 373-39^ 
Couthon, deputy, 257 
Curtius, merchant, 81 
Custine, General, 234 

Danican, General, 321 

Danton, deputy, appointed Minister 

of Justice, 206; his character, 
207; his demand for "I'audace," 
210; responsibility for the Septem- 
ber Massacres, 212; sketch of, 216; 
his residence on the south side, 247; 
advocates reorganization of the 
Committee of General Security, 
254; his rivalry with Robespierre, 
288; their interview, 290; his trial 
and execution, 291 
Dauphin, the, 62, 316-318 
David, deputy, painter, 280, 292 
Davidovitch, General, 343 
Davout, Colonel, 256 
Deseze, defender of the King, 240 
Desmoulins, Camille, deputy, 80 
Dillon, Archbishop of Narbonne, 59 
Dillon, General Arthur, 209 
Dillon, General Theobald, 221 
Dillon, Madame, 32 
Directory, the, 313, 323, 329 
Dreux-Breze, Marquis de, 74 
Drouet, deputy, 147, 328 
Dubois de Crance, deputy, 122, 387 
Ducos, Roger, consul, director, 370- 

Dumas, General Mathieu, 170 
Dumouriez, General, 180, 187, 220, 

230» 233» 234, 255 
Duport, deputy, 119 

Edgeworth, Abbe, 246-247 
Egypt, expedition to, 357 
filisabeth, Madame, 25 
Emigres, the, 90, 107, 162, 178 
Enghien, Due d', 177 
England, 252 
Espremenil, deputy, 117 

Favras, hung in 1790, 126 

Federation, Fete of the, 130 

Fersen, Comte de, 44-47, 105, 145, 

160, 173 
Feuillants, the, 116 
Flanders Regiment, 98 
Flesselles, last prevot of Paris, 88 
Fleurus, battle of, 309 
Fouche, deputy, 293, 384 
Foulon, massacred in 1789, 95 
Fouquier-Tinville, public accuser, 

255» 'i.n 
Francis 11, Emperor of Germany, 219) 



Francois de Neufchateau, deputy, 

334, .355 
Franklin, Benjamin, 55 
Frederick William II, King of Prussia, 

162, 222, 354 
Fructidor, the i8th, 333 

Gardes Fran^aises, 65, 80, 224 
Genlis, Madame de, 172 
Gensonne, deputy of the Gironde, 171 
Girondins, the, 170, 214, 243, 265, 

270-272, 282 
Godoy, Prince of the Peace, 254 
Gohier, deputy, director, 368, 379, 

Gregoire, Abbe, deputy, 119 
Guadet, deputy of the Gironde, 171 
Guard, National, 83, 93, 193 
Guard, Swiss, 65, 197-201, 224 
Guemene, Madame de, 38 
Guillotin, Doctor, 248 
Guillotine, the, 248 
Guines, Due de, 40, 53 
Gustavus III, King of Sweden, 174 

Hebert, called "le pere Duchesne," 

Henriot, general of the National 
Guard of Paris, 274 

Herault de Sechelles, deputy, 260, 291 

Hermann, president of the Revolu- 
tionary Tribunal, 277 

Hoche, General, 306, 329, 331-333 

Holland, 310 

Hondschoote,. battle of, 266 

Hood, Admiral, 302, 307 

Invalides, the Hotel des, 84 
"Iron Closet," the, 176 
Italy, 337 
Italy, campaign of, 335-350 

Jacobin Club, 116 

Jacobins, the, 214, 264, 388 

Jemmapes, battle of, 234 

Joseph II, Emperor of Germany, 

Josephine de Beauharnais, 312, 369 
Joubert, General, 364 
Jourdan, General, 305, 308-311, 330, 

363* 375> 378 

Kellermann, General, 230, 307, 339 

KorfF, Baronne de, 142 

La Fayette, Marquis de, appointed 
commander of the National Guard 
of Paris, 90; sketch of, 93; re* 
ceived by the King at Versailles on 
the night of 5 October, loi; con- 
ducts King to Paris, 107; at the 
Fete of the Federation, 131; his 
dislike of Mirabeau, 132; the 
Queen's antipathy for him, 132; 
his attitude towards the Monarchy, 
132; visits King before flight to 
Varennes, 144; resigns command 
of National Guard, 179; rushes to 
Paris (June 1792), 193; his as- 
sistance declined by the Court, 194; 
leaves France (August), 209 

Lally, General, 92 

Lally-ToUendal, Marquis de, deputy, 

La Marck, Comte de, deputy, 123, 
133, 134 

Lamballe, Madame de, 33-35, 114, 
212, 239 

Lambesc, Prince de, 81 

Lameth, Charles, deputy, 120 

Lamourette, Bishop of Lyon, 195, 287 

La Revelliere, deputy, director, 325 

La Tour du Pin, Madame de, 91, 297 

Launay, governor of the Bastille, 

Lauzun, Due de {see Biron) 

Lavalette, General, 333 

Legislative Assembly {see Assembly) 

Leoben, preliminaries of, 348 

Leopold II, Emperor of Germany, 
161, 174 

Lepeletier, Section, 316, 319 

Lettres de Cachet^ 1 1 

Le Tourneur, deputy, director, 325 

Liancourt, Due de, 89 

Lindet, Robert, deputy. Minister of 
Finance, 260, 269 

Lion of Lucerne, 201 

Lisle, Rouget de, 196 

Lodi, battle of, 340 

Louis XIV, 3, 7, 13 

Louis XV, 3, 7 

Louis XVI, his birth and early years, 
19; character as a youth, 19-20; 
marriage with Marie-Antoinette, 
21; improved relations with the 



Queen, 30; his early popularity, 
48; appoints Maurepas first min- 
ister, 49; makes Turgot controller, 
49; searches his grandfather's 
papers for history of "Man with 
the Iron Mask," 51; allows the 
Queen to meddle in public affairs, 
52; dismisses Turgot, 53; appoints 
Saint-Germain head of War Office, 
53; makes Necker controller, 54; 
forms alliance with America against 
England, 55; receives news of vic- 
tories in America, 56; dismisses 
Necker, 56; appoints Calonne con- 
troller, 58; calls Assembly of 
Notables, 59; makes Brienne con- 
troller, 59; recalls Necker, 62; 
calls meeting of the States-General, 
63; his household (Maison du 
Roi), 64; receives the deputies, 67; 
the ceremony at the Cathedral, 68; 
formal opening of the States- 
General, 68; holds Seance Royale, 
74; directs the three orders to 
meet together, 74; concentrates 
troops near Versailles, 75; warned 
as to lack of moral in army, 76; 
refuses demand for withdrawal of 
troops, yj; again dismisses Necker, 
78; notified of the "revolution" in 
Paris, 89; visits the Assembly, 90; 
considers flight to Metz, 90; visits 
Paris, 91; deprived of the veto, 
98; orders more troops to Ver^ 
sailles, 98; attends banquet of the 
body-guard, 99; forced to give 
sanction to the decrees, loi; re- 
ceives La Fayette at the Chateau 
on night of 5 October, loi; leaves 
for Paris, 107; at the Tuileries 
with the royal family, 109; diffi- 
culty of finding accommodations, 
113; change in his title, 115; 
negotiations with Mirabeau, 123; 
deprived of control of the army, 
125; goes to Saint-Cloud in spring 
of 1790, 126; does nothing to stem 
the tide of events, 128; at Fete of 
the Federation, 131; resumes ne- 
gotiations with Mirabeau, 133; 
fails to follow advice of Mirabeau, 
138; arranges details of flight to 
Varennes, 140; receives visit from 

La Fayette, 144; last interview 
with his brother Provence, 144; 
leaves Paris with royal family, 
14s; details of the flight, 145-149; 
arrested at Varennes, 150; forced 
to admit his identity, 150; com- 
pelled to return to Paris, 151; 
arrival at the capital, 152; sus- 
pended and again restored to 
authority, 153; accepts the Con- 
stitution (Sept. 1791), 163; re- 
newed popularity, 164; attends 
last meeting of Constituent As- 
sembly, 167; constructs the famous 
"Iron Closet," 175; refuses to 
sanction decrees regarding priests 
and emigres, 178; appoints Nar- 
bonne Minister of War, 180; ap- 
proves of war with Austria (April 
1792), 185; dismisses Roland, 186; 
refuses sanction to decree for army 
of Federates (15 June), 187; 
during attack on the Tuileries 
(20 June), 191; declines aid of 
La Fayette, 193; prepares for 
defence of the Tuileries (10 August), 
197; decides to go to the Manege, 
199; orders the Swiss Guards to 
retire, 201; deposed by the As- 
sembly, 203; confined in the 
Temple, 204; his life there, 237; 
separated from his family, 240; 
his trial before the Convention, 
242; the votes upon his sentence, 
244; condemned to death, 245; 
last interview with his family, 245; 
his execution, 246; his charac- 
ter, 250 

Louis XVII {see the Dauphin) 

Luckner, Marshal, 177, 210, 220, 

Luxembourg, the, 325 

Lyon, 268 

Madame Royale, daughter of Louis 

XVI, 30, 318, 328 
Madeleine, cemetery of the, 281 
Mailhe, deputy, 244 
Maison du Roi, 64, 223 
Malmesbury, Lord, 331 
Malouet, deputy, 118 
Malta, capture of, 357 
"Man with the Iron Mask," 51 



Mandat, commander of the National 
Guard, 197 

Manege, the, 115 

Mantua, siege of, 341, 347 

Marat, physician, journalist, deputy, 
211, 212, 216, 262-265 

Marie-Antoinette, her birth and early 
years, 18; her marriage with the 
Dauphin, 18; her character and 
appearance as a young girl, 20; 
marriage at Versailles, 21; popu- 
larity as the Dauphine, 23; in- 
timacy with the Comte d'Artois, 
24; her dissipation and prodigality, 
26; love of gambling, 27; growing 
unpopularity, 28; visit from her 
brother Joseph, 29; improved 
relations with the King, 30; birth 
of Madame Royale, 30; bad in- 
fluence of her female favorites, 32; 
intimacy with Madame de Lam- 
balle, 33; appoints Lamballe 
Superintendent of the Household, 
34; forms great attachment for 
Madame de Polignac, 35; her 
relations with Vaudreuil, Adhemar 
and Besenval, 36; is exploited by 
the Polignacs, 37; friendship with 
Madame de Guemene, 38; makes 
Madame de Polignac governess of 
the royal children, 38; her illness 
at the Trianon and her queer 
attendants, 39-40; the "Affair of 
the Necklace," 41; her relations 
with Comte de Fersen, 44-47; 
curiosity regarding the "Man with 
the Iron Mask," 51; meddles in 
public affairs, 51; secures dismissal 
of Turgot, S3; birth of the first 
Dauphin, 57; at the opening of the 
States-General, 69; at the banquet 
of the body-guard, 99; during the 
attack on the Chateau of Ver- 
sailles 5 October, 104; scandalous 
story of Madame Campan, 105; 
goes to Paris with the King, 107; 
her life at the Tuileries, 113; 
return of Madame de Lamballe, 
114; goes to Saint-Cloud with the 
King, 126; at the Fete of the 
Federation, 131; her dislike of 
La Fayette, 132; her first meeting 
with Mirabeau, 136; her joy at 

his death, 140; her plans for 
flight, 143; leaves Paris with the 
King, 145; details of the flight, 
146-150; the return trip to Paris, 
151-152; opens correspondence 
with Barnave, 155; her opinion of 
him, 156; their relations during 
the return from Varennes, 157; 
her instructions to Jar j ayes, 158; 
her double dealings, 159; tries to 
soothe jealousy of Fersen, 160; 
advice received from Barnave, 161; 
indignation over attitude of the 
emigres, 162; last interview with 
Barnave, 165; receives Fersen for 
last time (Feb. 1792), 173; at- 
titude regarding Austrian war, 
186; during attack on Tuileries 
(20 June), 192; opens communica- 
tions with Danton and Robespierre, 
196; opposes abandonment of 
Tuileries (10 August), 199; at the 
Manege, 201; confined in the 
Temple, 205; her life there, 237; 
grief at the fate of Madame de 
Lamballe, 239; last interview with 
the King, 245; plots to rescue her 
from the Temple, 273; removed 
to the Conciergerie, 274; her life 
there, 275; her trial, sentence and 
execution, 276-287 

Marseillaise, the, 19(5 

Marseille, 268 

Massena, General, 235, 363 

Maurepas, Comte de, minister, 49, 

S2> 57 

Maury, Abbe, deputy, 118 

Mayence, 266 

Menou, General, 3 19 

Menus-Plaisirs, Salle des, 68 

Mercy-Argenteau, ambassador of 
Austria, 133 

Merlin de Douai, deputy, minister, 
director, 326, 334 

Merlin de Thionville, deputy, 171 

Mirabeau, deputy, his first appearance 
in the Assembly, 70; sketch of, 70; 
his defiance to the King, 74; be- 
comes adviser of the King, 123; 
suggests organization of a ministry, 
123; favors taking the Church 
property, 129; new negotiations 
with the Court, 135; accepts re 



tainer from the King, 135; change 
in his mode of life, 135; admira- 
tion for the Queen, 136; meeting 
with Marie-Antoinette, 136; his 
advice to the King, 137; disap- 
pointment at apathy of the Court, 
138; his death, 138; his character, 

Mirabeau-Tonneau, deputy, 117 
Monge, Gaspard, 207 
Montagnards {see Jacobins) 
Montesquieu, philosopher, 14 
Montesquiou, General, deputy, 235 
Moreau, General, 330, 363, 376 
Motte, Comtesse de la, 41 
Moulin, General, director, 368 
Mounier, deputy, loi, 108 
Mulhouse, 352 
Murad Bey, 358 
Murat, General, 320, 395 

Napoleon {see Bonaparte) 

Narbonne, General, minister, 172, 180 

National Assembly, the {see As- 
sembly, Constituent) 

National Guard, the {see Guard) 

Necker, controller, 54, 62, 69, 78 

Necklace, Affair of the, 41 

Nelson, Admiral, 307, 359 

Nile, battle of the, 359 

Noailles, Vicomte de (Jean sans 
Terre), 96 

Nobles, the, 128 

Notables, Assembly of, 59 

Novi, battle of, 364 

Orleans, Due d' (£galite), 24, 283-286 

Pache, mayor of Paris, Minister of 

War, 254 
Palais-Bourbon, 385 
Palais-Royal, 79 
Paris, 9, 247 
Parlement, Paris, 60 
Penthievre, Due de, 33 
Paul, Czar of Russia, 354, 362-365 
Petion, deputy, mayor of Paris, 

179, 192, 19s, 217, 271 
Phelippeaux, 329 
Pichegru, General, 306, 307, 308-311, 

328, 332, 333 
Pius VI, 337, 347, 353 
Piedmont {see Italy) 


Pillnitz, declaration of, 176 

Pitt, English statesman, 253 

Place de la Concorde (Louis XV and 

de la Revolution), 22, 81, 249, 280, 

Polignac, Madame de, 35 
Prieur of the Cote-d'Or, deputy, 259 
Prieur of the Marne, deputy, 259 
Provence, Comte de, 24, 144, 162 
Prussia, 227, 310, 353 
Public Safety, Committee of {see 

Pyramids, battle of the, 358 

Quadrilateral, the, 340 
Quasdanovitch, General, 342 

Rastadt, Congress of, 349, 353, 362 

Regime, the Old, 4-16 

Republic, French, proclamation of 

the, 218 
Representatives on Mission, 305 
Reubell, deputy, director, 325, 329 
Revolutionary Tribunal, the, 255, 


Rivoli, battle of, 345 

Robespierre, Augustin, deputy, 300, 

Robespierre, Maximilien, deputy, his 
responsibility for the September 
Massacres, 213; sketch of, 215; 
his rivalry with Danton, 288; his 
character, 288; determines to over- 
throw his opponents, 289; inter- 
view with Danton, 291; plots 
Danton's ruin, 291; his power 
after the fall of Danton, 293; 
attacks Fouche, 293; loses power 
with the Committee of Public 
Safety, 295; attacked in the Con- 
vention, 298; his downfall, 300; 
his execution, 301 

Rochambeau, General, 220 

Roederer, statesman, 198, 381 

Rohan, Prince de, cardinal, Arch- 
bishop of Strasbourg, 41 

Roland, deputy. Minister of the In- 
terior, 181, 186, 286 

Roland, Madame, 181-184, 192, 286 

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 15 

Royal Family, the, 24, 25 

Royale, Madame {see Madame 



Saint-Andre, deputy, 259 
Saint-Cloud, 391 
Saint-Germain, minister, 53 
Saint-Just, deputy, 257, 289, 307, 

Saint- Jean-d'Acre, 360 
Santerre, brewer, general of the 

National Guard, 187, 192 
Sardinia [see Italy) 
Saxe-Teschen, Duke of, 233 
Seance Royale, 74 
Segur, Marquis de, minister, 55 
September Massacres, the, 211 
Servan, General, Minister of War, 186 
Sieyes, deputy, consul, 72, 315, 355, 

367, 370-396 
Smith, Sidney, 329, 360 
SouvarofF, General, 363-365 
Spain, 310, 355 
Stael, Madame de, 172 
States-General, the, 63 
Swiss Guard, the {see Guard) 

Tagliamento, the, 348 
Talleyrand-Perigord, Bishop of Au- 

tun, diplomatist, minister, 121, 129, 

131, 332, 355-381 
Tallien, deputy, 296, 316 
Tallien, Madame, 296, 313 
Temple, the, 203, 237 
Tennis-Court, oath of, 73 
Terror, the, 288-301 
Thermidor, the 9th, 297 
Third Estate, the, 64 
Thouret, deputy, 167 
Tolentino, treaty of, 347 
Toulon, siege of, 302 

Tourzel, Madame de, 1 14 
Treilhard, director, 367 
Trianon, the, 39 

Tribunal, Revolutionary {see Revo- 
lutionary Tribunal) 
Tricolor, the, 91 
Tuileries, the, 109-113, 263 
Turgot, minister, 49-53 
Two-Thirds, decree of the, 316, 318 

United States, the, 355 

Valmy, battle of, 23 1 
Varennes, flight to, 140-152 
Vaublanc, Comte de, 169 
Vaudois, the, 352 
Vaudreull, Comte de, 36 
Vendee, La, 267, 328 
Vendemiaire, the 13th, 312 
Venice, 348 
Verdun, 229 

Vergennes, Comte de, 49 
Vergniaud, deputy of the Gironde, 

Versailles, 102 
Veto, the, 98 
Voltaire, author, 14 

Wimpfen, General, 269 
Wissenbourg, lines of, 267 
Wolfe-Tone, Irish patriot, 331 
Wurmser, Marshal, 267, 307, 311, 342 

Yorktown, victory of, 56 

Zurich, battles of, 363, 365